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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Well begun is half done.

The beginning is half of everything.
– Pythagoras

The main purpose of registering this blog was to post my progress during my participation at a P2PU (Peer to Peer University) course on Firefox extension development. From then on, I didn’t actually post any updated information.

At the same time I was conducting my undergraduate thesis on a similar subject. Hopefully, I graduated and I currently pursue my Master of Science on Information Security at the Royal Holloway, University of London!!

Lately, I decided to post almost everyday here and there something new and interesting that I come up with, in order to achieve one or more of the following:

1. improve my written English
2. keep diary of interesting and educational things for each day
3. help people solve everyday problems either computer related or not
4. exchange opinions

DISCLAIMER: As my academic background is Computer Science related and my current academic state offers me loads of new and interesting information, most of the subjects will be computer or information security related. However, that should not be taken as a rule of thumb.

Whenever you notice something not accurate, please feel free to send me a mail or leave a comment mentioning it. I would really appreciate your comments wherever they are for correction or for appraisal. :)