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Windows 7: Snooping through the power socket

16 Jul 2009   #1
reghakr

Windows 7 Pro & Vista Home Premium
 
 
Snooping through the power socket

Security researchers found that poor shielding on some keyboard cables means useful data can be leaked about each character typed. By analyzing the information leaking onto power circuits, the researchers could see what a target was typing. The attack has been demonstrated to work at a distance of up to 15m, but refinement may mean it could work over much longer distances.

“Our goal is to show that information leaks in the most unexpected ways and can be retrieved,” wrote two individuals of security firm Inverse Path, in a paper describing their work. The research focused on the cables used to connect PS/2 keyboards to desktop PCs. Usefully, said the pair, the six wires inside a PS/2 cable are typically “close to each other and poorly shielded.”

This means that information travelling along the data wire, when a key is pressed, leaks onto the earth (ground in the U.S.) wire in the same cable. The earth wire, via the PC’s power unit, ultimately connects to the plug in the power socket, and from there information leaks out onto the circuit supplying electricity to a room. Even better, said the researchers, data travels along PS/2 cables one bit at a time and uses a clock speed far lower than any other PC component. Both these qualities make it easy to pick out voltage changes caused by key presses. A digital oscilloscope was used to gather data about voltage changes on a power line and filters were used to remove those caused by anything other than the keyboard.

More.....
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16 Jul 2009   #2
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Guys go for wireless keyboard.
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16 Jul 2009   #3
Gemini Man

Windows 7 Professional x64 / Ubuntu 9.10
 
 

Interesting news... As far as a wireless keyboard goes, I was thinking of buying one myself.... One that would light up preferably.
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16 Jul 2009   #4
Antman

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dinesh View Post
Guys go for wireless keyboard.
Yes. Get a bluetooth - no one could spy on that. ;-)
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16 Jul 2009   #5
holo88

Windows 7 Ultimate x32
 
 

very interesting read. OH crap! they have my myspace password! i hop they dont delete my account!.....lol

you can always shred the cable and wrap the ground wire with electrical tape. but i think that's excessive. maybe companies should use thicker insulated wires, idk.
good read though
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16 Jul 2009   #6
reghakr

Windows 7 Pro & Vista Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dinesh View Post
Guys go for wireless keyboard.
Wireless are even worse, prisoners were snooping in on guards typing messages.

I'll try and locate the original article.

Wireless has a range of over 40 feet at least.
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