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Snooping Wireless Keyboards

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Tagged As: Hacking, Privacy, and Security

TEMPEST attacks represent the state of the art trade craft for reconstructing a user's computing session from afar. Often times, the act is much simpler. While obtaining passwords, financial information or logging messages can be done via advanced TEMPEST tricks or sniffing network traffic, it's actually much simpler to log the activity directly from the keyboard. This can be done with keystroke logging software or even an in-line logging dongle. However, these days, many people have begun using wireless keyboards and mice which makes the process extraordinarily easy for snooping. Security researchers discovered "encryption" consisted of XOR'ing a single byte and deciphering the keystrokes involved a simple brute force algorithm against the 256 possible bytes used as a key. The attack was successful against most popular wireless implementations although researchers noted that Bluetooth connections actually had "real" encryption so long as the manufacturer used it.

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