Electromagnetic keylogger

A keylogger (keystroke logger) is the software or hardware used to capture the keystrokes on a computer keyboard. Fortunately, if we are aware enough it is difficult for someone to install such a software or device to our computers.

A software keylogger can be installed by accidentally or deliberate installing of software acquired from unknown source. On the other hand, the installation of a hardware keylogger requires the attacker to have physical access to our machine.

Some simple measures to avoid such attacks are:

  • Software keyloggers: It is wise not to install software that comes attached on mails from unknown senders
  • Hardware keyloggers: Be aware of your property and who has access to it.

Alright, if you apply such simple protection measures you are safe. #NOT

Keyboards contain electromagnetic parts which are emitting electromagnetic waves. What will happen if we can capture these waves and decode them in order to reveal the actual message typed?

The answer can be found at the following video where a real antenna is used to capture the electromagnetic emanations of keystrokes even being in another room!

 

I wonder what will happen in a few years from now where devices like the “Black Hole” from Prison Break that will capture all the transmitted traffic become available!

The paper for this work is available here and more info can be found at their site.

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