Keystroke logger of the worst kind: a microphone

Keystroke logger of the worst kind: a microphone

Summary: Just when you thought anti-spyware technology was making it safe to compute again, researchers at the University of California have come up with a new form of spyware using some old technology: a microphone.  According to a story on ScientificAmerican.

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TOPICS: Malware
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Just when you thought anti-spyware technology was making it safe to compute again, researchers at the University of California have come up with a new form of spyware using some old technology: a microphone.  According to a story on ScientificAmerican.com, with 88 percent accuracy (after certain algorithms were applied), the researchers "successfully decoded what was typed into a computer from an audio recording" of the sounds made by the clickety clack of a keyboard. Called "acoustical spying," one of the researchers concluded "If we were able to figure this out, it's likely that people with less honorable intentions can, or have, as well." 

Topic: Malware

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  • Excuse me...

    But it's bad enough that the Bad Guys are coming up with this crap.

    Why are our so-called "Good Guy" scientists helping them along?
    BitTwiddler
    • Why Research Any Potential Vulnerability?

      To develop effective countermeasures before the bad guys can use the method of attack, of course. Unfortunately, the real trick is in getting people to use those countermeasures. ("I don't see why people are so worried about spying and hacking!" says Granny Q. Public. "That's for big businesses and government computers to worry about. Why would anyone want to spy on anything I have on my computer? Ooh! A new plate in the Franklin Mint collection!" As she starts tapping in credit card number . . .) I guess we need to start an urban legend in order for that to happen? Then, geez, everyone hears about it and freaks out. "READ THIS!!! I heard this from the neighbor of a friend of a roomate of my uncle's who saw it on CNN and NBC, so it MUST BE TRUE!!!!!!! Terrorists are secretly using your microphone to get your credit card numbers and buying UPS uniforms on eBay!!!!! Microsoft and Disney say it's the WORST THREAT EVER!!!!!!!1!!!1!!111 Send this to everyone you care about!!!!!!!111!!1!11! NOW, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!!1111!!!11!ONE11!!!"

      Hmmm. I may have stumbled across a patch management strategy here . . .
      Whyaylooh
      • Big deal..

        I bet they can't figure out what keys are pressed when the person is doing two finger key pecking.
        FreeBSD
      • Don't laugh

        Didn't they just catch someone buying a Pilot's Uniforn online (along with other "make your own ID" stuff).

        Kinda scary.
        John Zern
  • 2 finger typists

    If anything it would be easy to do a signature on a two finger typist. Having done some "signature" analysis before (editing snorts and bad breaths out of music video tracks) I would conclude that its easier since the signature would have fewer possible conflicting sounds to analyze. I know that when I type (3 fingers on left hand 2 on right) I know when I made the wrong stroke even when I can't see the screen or the keyboard. (No I'm not going to tell you under what circumstances that occurs!)
    Xwindowsjunkie