Keystrokes leading hackers to Passwords

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Research conducted by Cybersecurity experts from Southern Methodist University in Texas has revealed that hacking techniques have become sophisticated to an extent that threat actors are sniffing out passwords of online service users just by accessing the sound of their keystrokes.

In the latest cyber threat detected by the researchers, hackers are found using a smartphone to eavesdrop on their victim’s keystrokes.

When we type the keys on a computer keyboard, the sound of the keys can easily be detected by a smartphone, say experts.

Hackers are then able to intercept the acoustic signals of the phone, process them and decipher the text and numbers struck with the keys.

“It is not an impossible thing these days, as an evolution of one technology is leading to the downfall of another. So, hackers are becoming sophisticated enough to decode much of what is being typed on the PC- even in buzzing conference rooms where other noise disturbances are obvious”, says Prof Eric Larson who is leading the research made by the Southern Methodist University in Texas.

We can pick up the keystrokes with 41 percent accuracy which might improve further in coming years added Larson.

Our experiment involved a bunch of people with their computers talking to each other in a conference hall, with over 7-8 mobile smartphones kept in a range of few inches to several feet from the PCs.

The smartphone sensors were capable of detecting even a slight keystroke from a PC and helped the researchers to transcript what was being written on the computers note pad.

Note 1- All modern-day cell phones also called smartphones to contain orientation sensors which help them detect whether they are being carried in a pocket or being held in hand/ or kept on a table. When such sensors are intercepted by hackers, they can send a lot more info to hackers than we expect says the research.

Note 2- Last week, this whole study was published in a science journal Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies.