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Key clicks betray passwords, typed text

Discussion in 'News' started by tripwire45, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster


    Key clicks betray passwords, typed text

    Eavesdroppers armed with a shotgun microphone or a small recording device could make off with a computer user's sensitive documents and data, three university researchers said in a paper released this week. The researchers, from the University of California at Berkeley, found that a 10-minute recording of a person typing at the keyboard reveals enough information for a computer analysis to recover nearly 90 per cent of the words entered. The recording can be low quality - the researchers used a $10 microphone - and the system does not need previous samples of a user's typing to perform the analysis. Moreover, the technique can frequently guess a person's password in as little as 20 attempts.

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    1. Phoenix
      I do believe the results indicated a 4 character password in 20 attempts, a 5 character one took 75 attempts

      fortunatly most systems lock out well before that ;)
      its an interesting piece to say the least, but i think the computer model needs to be improved a bit
      I wonder if they performed the tests with left and right handed persons
      you will generally find that it uses the audible clicks of keys which is subject to the force applied to it, left handed people would generally apply a heavier weight to a seperate set of keys than right handed people, which ofcourse may throw the model off somewhat
      I'm also unsure if it is useful in the case of someone using a DVORAK keyboard instead of a QWERTY keyboard, as again, keys are shifted around and the effective sound would be different due to hand placement

      just my 2c on it :)

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