CAN SPIES DECIPHER KEYBOARD CLICKS?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Peter2150, Sep 14, 2005.

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  1. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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  2. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Thanks Peter2150

    Maybe we should all put a vibrator under our keyboards.
    I=t k_ind - of maak+es it dif^icullt 2 tyype, buht aat - l e e s tt weer saafe!
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I use the articles recommendation. Music. I guess what is need is sound to hide the key clicks. Geesh. What next.
     
  4. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest


    LOL, that was funny Devinco. Perhaps a keyboard like one of these would help. http://www.grandtec.com/vik.htm http://www.vkb-tech.com/ I think both could be very quiet.
     
  5. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Thanks goodquestion.

    That sounds like a good idea. It would be harder to hide an embedded hardware keylogger in a flexible keyboard too.
    Never tried one, have you? I held off getting one because I thought it feel like typing on a squid.
     
  6. Kye-U

    Kye-U Security Expert

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    Solutions:

    (a) Blast really loud techno music while typing in your passwords

    (b) wrap your fist and fingers up with tape and/or toilet paper and pound your password in

    (c) disconnect your keyboard from your HD and surf onto various sites and copy/paste your password in, letter by letter.

    *Also posted on DSLReports ;)
     
  7. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi Kye-U,

    Music would be good if loud enough. It also depends a lot on the microphone used (directional-noise cancelling) and its placement.

    This is all speculation, but it may be possible to do a differential audio analysis of a known waveform (like a specific song). Once the music's waveform is approximated (adjusting for volume, environment, etc.), the waveform could be subtracted, leaving the keyboard clicks not perfectly clean but audible. This could be bs, but off the shelf audio filters may be able to do something like this.

    Here's another speculative solution.
    1. Record high quality sounds of each and every key press. One key, one sound file. Number them sequentially: 1.wav, 2.wav, 3.wav, etc.
    2. Write a program that upon execution, would randomly pick a wave, play it, pick another, play it, etc. The program could even be a macro so it wouldn't be that difficult to do. It should be fast enough to mimic your typing speed (adjustable?).
    3. If the microphone is planted very close to the keyboard compared to the distance of the speakers, you could get a small speaker to put near or under the keyboard.
    4. You could also play a random sequence and record it onto a digital recorder or similar device.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2005
  8. StevieO

    StevieO Guest

    Yes i read it too.

    Fantastic idea i have to say, and in the lab it sounds as if it's been proved to work. What will they think of next !

    I can't really see your average Criminal spending lots of time on this though can you ?

    It's a bit like the SHA1 encryption that's been cracked by the collision method. It's possible, but it's not easy or quick !


    StevieO
     
  9. phreak

    phreak Guest

    used to be able to disable hook switch and turn any phone into microphone.
     
  10. more

    more Guest

    more: http://www.physorg.com/news6541.html
     
  11. controler

    controler Guest

    This sound one is new to me but people have been picking up your typing for years using high tech equipment which picks up the electromagnetic signals transmitted by your keyboard from outside your home and I am not talking about wireless keyboards either. All electronic devices give off these signals.
    They use special amplifiers to pick up the rough signals, then filter them to pick out the keystroks. If I remember right, they can even pick up your viseo card signals. The same signals being sent to your monitor.

    So does this mean all computers I/O's should have their own encryption? I don't know LOL

    I am sure they can catch your cell phone numbers being clicked in also. Those are specefic Touch tones, which are much easier to decypher.

    Happy typing :D

    controler
     
  12. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest



    Yes, I have tried a flexible keyboard, and they are so quiet, I doubt these techniques would work while your using one.

    But these techniques are really not something I would be too worried about anyway, because first of all what are you typing that is so worthy of others spying on you? Do you work for the FBI or CIA? Are you copying top secret documents onto your computer? What do you really have to hide that is so important?

    The expertise needed to interpret the results of a recording (or direct audio signal) of this kind (especially if there are other louder sounds masking the original signal) is beyond the level of most anyone, but the highest skilled in acoustic interpretation. I seriously doubt someone like your neighbors could do it. Only those who are very highly skilled/trained in audio interpretation would be able to pull it off.

    Of course using White Noise to mask your typing would be the preferred method, even over something like very loud music playing in the background, because white noise is very difficult to fliter out from the original audio signal. All but the most hightech instruments (mostly only available to a government agency) can be defeated by using white noise as a masking agent.



    Controler, all electronic devices can also be shielded so that their emissions cannot be detected easily, or at all, except by the most advanced and expensive instruments, again were talking CIA level here. Something like Tempest attacks can be defeated with the proper shielding.

    Some ways you can prevent your home/work telephone being used to spy on you (hook bypass method) is simply unplug the handset cord when it's hung up, thereby it can no longer be used as a microphone to spy on you. You can still receive a phone call, and it will ring, at that point simply plug the cord back in. Though it wouldn't stop a line tap, but that's easy enough to defeat also.

    If your worried about your cell phone being used as a tracking or spying device, just disconnect the battery when not in use. Just shutting it off won't always work. You won't be able to receive incoming calls, but that's the price you pay for your privacy.

    Though most folks will never have to worry about any of these things, because your simply not worth spying on.
     
  13. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Thanks for the goodanswer goodquestion! :D

    I'll try one out sometime. It looks handy for travel and it might even help ergonomically.

    Nothing that exciting (or boring).
    If I did work for the agency, I wouldn't be a member here (or would I just to gain people's trust? :ninja: )

    I like the white noise idea because it is simple to do and the random noise pattern would be harder to filter out than music with a known audio pattern.
    This is all hypothetical and not really of concern for most everybody, but since we are still on the topic....
    Do you think it would be harder to filter out radio white noise or a recording of random typing sounds from the actual keyboard being used?
     
  14. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest

    Sorry about any misunderstanding Devinco. I didn't mean for you to think the above statements were directed at you specifically. I meant them as a general opinion on the thread itself, it was not aimed at any one person. I was only responding to you in my first sentence. I should have explained that better.

    But moving on to your question.....What exactly did you mean by radio white noise? Are you talking about the hissss (static) sound you can hear between tuned radio stations? Because I don't think that is true white noise, at least not the way I'm talking about. What I mean is, I don't think it can be relied on to cover all frequencies at an equal level, like true white noise would. Though it probably would be helpful and much better than nothing. Of course even loud music, or other background sounds, would be helpful also and may be enough to stop a low level attacker from being able to determine which keys your selecting.

    Some sources you can get true full spectrum white noise from, are either a white noise generator (can be somewhat expensive), or some cd's that are mass-produced (much cheaper in price), and will play full spectrum white noise. I prefer the cd's myself. They are cheap, portable and very high quality. You may even be able to download a sound file of true white noise off the net for free somewhere. Though it may be poor quality too.

    But I think any recorded sounds of you or someone else typing and then being played back could be distinguished from the "clickity clack" sound of a real keyboard, at least it could be by someone who knows what their doing. Unless you had very good sound reproduction from your sound source, but even then I think it would be possible for a good computer to be able to tell the difference. Especially if it's something the CIA or other government agency had in their possession.

    If you want my opinion, I would go with true white noise over the recorded keyboard sounds.

    Maybe a combination of sounds would work better for you though. You could try combining the keyboard recordings, layer them with the use of a multi-track recording device. I would record at least 4 random layered tracks (more is better imo) of keyboard typing, so they are super random and then add the radio sounds (static) on top of that. Try to make the play back of the recording as close to the volume level of the actual typing your doing. Also speaker placement would be important. Not to mention the quality of all involved equipment. I may do some tests on these ideas in the future myself. ;)
     
  15. StevieO

    StevieO Guest

    Here's a very good but simple to use WNG.

    I've scanned it with AV/AT at Jottis and on my PC. It's clean !

    I've played with it and it will do exactly what is required. It also has many other sources of noise and tones to experiment with.

    . . .

    Tone Generator lets you create audio test tones, sweeps or noise waveforms using your computer or a PDA handheld.

    Typical Applications
    Test tone generation in radio and other studios for the alignment of levels.
    Calibration and testing of audio equipment or speakers.
    Tuning music instruments as an accurate reference tone.
    Demonstration of audio principles to students.
    Acoustics testing and equalisation.
    Quality control and testing of sound cards.
    White noise generator
    Audio band signalling.
    Hearing tests (under suitable medical supervision).

    Features
    Sine wave, square wave, triangular waveform, saw tooth waveform, impulse, white noise and pink noise.
    Supports frequencies from 1Hz to 22kHz bandwidth (subject to sound card).
    Multiple simultaneous tones (1 to 16 tones can be created at the same time) (useful to create harmonics).
    Mono or separate stereo operation (ideal to create dual tones or 'beats').
    Tone Sweeps (Log or Linear).
    Plays tone or saves as wav file.

    System Requirements - Windows
    Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP/2003.
    Sound Card.
    234KB

    NCH Tone Generator is free for demonstration and testing purposes only.

    http://www.nch.com.au/tonegen/

    . . .

    Have fun, but don't annoy the neighbours !


    StevieO
     
  16. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    goodquestion,

    Thank you for the explanation. I was not aware of true full spectrum white noise. That is a great idea. It sounds like it might have other uses to (like relaxation, blocking pesky noises, etc.) :cool:

    Yet another good idea! Thanks.
    If you do decide to test it out, please share the results, I (and I'm sure others) would be very interested to know if it works.

    Another solution would be to use a Projection Keyboard. It projects the keyboard onto any surface with a laser. It seems you don't even have to touch the surface to activate the keys. Totally silent! It even looks ergonomic. Only video surveillance, or Tempest van Eck attacks would work. They look like they are almost ready for prime time. I hope they make some wired WITHOUT bluetooth! Here are some links:

    http://www.canesta.com/keyboard.htm
    http://www.alpern.org/weblog/stories/2003/01/09/projectionKeyboards.html
    http://www.celluon.com/products/devtools.htm
     
  17. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi StevieO,

    Thanks for the link.
    The neighbors will appreciate the peaceful relaxing noise, and if they complain, I'll just turn up the white noise louder. What Noise? I didn't hear any noise! :D
     
  18. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest

    Thanks for the link StevieO. Looks like it could be helpful. Free is always a nice touch....I know others would agree with me there. I'm going to try some tests with the program, when I get a chance.

    Devinco, I had already posted a link, in my first post in this thread, about a similar Projection Keyboard, but of course other links are always welcome too. The more information we all get about these things the better off we'll all be. Thanks.
     
  19. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    All you'd really need to do is use the character map that comes with Windows. Go into the start menu, accessories, system tools, and you'll see Character Map there. You could then just keep the passwords in a password manager like KeePass to not have to type it (or select each character individually) again. I'll bet you didn't know there's an actual character for smiley faces Using extended ascii characters in your password is a good idea anyway

    You can always buy white noise generators around, though.. they especially sell them for people that travel a lot to play while they sleep.. it may not be full spectrum, but it would probably do the trick. I've probably got enough ambient white noise (along with music) in this room to cancel anything out anyway :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  20. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest


    The reason I don't like and recommend password managers, even if they encrypt your passwords with the best encryption known to man, is because when your password is decrypted, and it needs to be at some point, it is copied to the Windows clipboard, and many keyloggers log the Windows clipboard.

    So if you use a password manager, you also should have anti-keylogger (& other anti-malware) software on that pc. If you don't, such as when you use a work pc, friends pc, library or cafe, your passwords can be captured. One such case would be running a password manager off a usb thumb drive, on someone else's pc thinking it is safe.

    Another thing is not all anti-keylogger (& anti-malware) software is capable of finding all keyloggers. So really you should have at least a couple different anti-keylogger (& AM) programs on your pc, and who really does that? Maybe some people around this site, but I don't think it is really that common.

    But I suppose if you knew the pc you were using is completely free of all keyloggers, and other malware that could log your keystrokes/Windows clipboard, then it could be helpful.

    Beyond that, some people in this thread would like ALL of their keystrokes to remain unknown, not just passwords. But thanks for your ideas. :)
     
  21. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  22. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    Good password managers will evade malware that monitors the clipboard, in one way or another. Personally I would rather use something like PG or OA that blocks them generically than an anti-keylogger scanner. We could go into all the ways to defeat keyloggers, but then nothing is 100% and it would be off-topic for this thread anyway.
     
  23. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest


    Hi Notok, I started a new thread here https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=564218#post564218
    Thanks if you are able to respond to it.
     
  24. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    No thanks. There are plenty of others in this forum that know more about password managers than I, should you have any questions.
     
  25. goodquestion

    goodquestion Guest

    Ok. ;)
     
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