Feeds

Type Me Your Password

Wireless keyboards = boon for hackers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Wireless keyboards are insecure and hackers can sniff-out every password you type on them.

This is the verdict of a warning posted on Bugtraq by German security outfit Daten-Treuhand. The company has tested Logitech's Cordless Desktop product and outlined how a hacker could intercept a users' keystrokes.

You connect your cordless keyboard to your PC by first pressing a connect-button on the receiver, and then another button on the keyboard. A fixed set of transmit-codes are sent between the receiver and the keyboard until the receiver locks in on the first undistorted code it gets. Keystoke data is then transmitted between the two via RF.

The problem arises because each transmitter/receiver pair does not appear to be hard-coded to match each other, according to Axel Hammer of Daten-Treuhand. "They simply seem to run out of the fab and the customer connects them the first time he is using the set, according to the manual. This leaves the crucial backdoor to connect whatever device you have to whatever receiver you have," he wrote in his alert.

"The receiver waits for 30 minutes after initialising a connect for new devices to sync to them, even if there has been an undistorted reception of at least one sync-code. An attacker is able to sniff the connect-sequence of a victim's device from far and to lock-in to the code of the victim's devices or to take control of a victim's device."

Hammer says that it is possible for the victim and the attacker to read the keystrokes without the victim noticing the attack. And to sniff a connection of wireless devices, all you need is a receiver from the same manufacturer, same model, and by slight modifications it is possible, to extend the range of the receiver to about 30m.

Daten-Treuhand recommends using infra-red devices if you have to go wireless. ®

Related Link

Daten-Treuhand Bugtraq alert

Related Stories

Logitech emasculates mice

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.