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[CNN] Smartphones Can Use Vibrations to Steal Passwords

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
http://techland.time.com/2011/10/18/...#ixzz1bFG36q5c
Quote:
Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a way for smartphones to pick up and interpret the vibrations made by typing on a keyboard. In theory, that means a thief could set an iPhone down next to your computer and steal your passwords or blackmail you with copies of embarrassing emails.
They can probably record the sounds as well to determine keystrokes.
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post #2 of 37
Huh? The vibration does no correspond to a certain input. Or gives out various vibration intensities or strength in order to allow that.

Oh, nvm, they did something to the phone rather then what was already built into it.
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post
Huh? The vibration does no correspond to a certain input.
Clearly you're wrong if they have figured out a way to do it. Every key has its own spring, and therefore will create its own unique vibration based on location, tension, balance, etc...

Either way, there is no need to be worried, this is just a proof of concept type experiment
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post #4 of 37
Sounds like TIME trying to make a story again. Interesting concept and exercise, but if an attacker can gain access to your desk to set a cell phone down, then you've already lost and they could do much worse by plugging a flash drive in instead. Plus it's not really practical to leave your phone unattended, especially for malicious purposes.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post
Huh? The vibration does no correspond to a certain input. Or gives out various vibration intensities or strength in order to allow that.

Oh, nvm, they did something to the phone rather then what was already built into it.
They used the included accelerometer and orientation sensor.

A vibration DOES correspond to a certain input. Pressing the P generates a different vibration than a Q.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mott555 View Post
Sounds like TIME trying to make a story again. Interesting concept and exercise, but if an attacker can gain access to your desk to set a cell phone down, then you've already lost and they could do much worse by plugging a flash drive in instead. Plus it's not really practical to leave your phone unattended, especially for malicious purposes.
It's just a proof of concept.

CIA installs program on target phones who work in a secure area?
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post #6 of 37
turn off vibrations and sounds and you cant get hacked!

and you save battery life!
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post #7 of 37
simple way to avoid this, get a spring or mechanical keyboard, pretty sure it'd be hard to tell a keystroke from the key clicking down.
    
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post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by subliminally incorrect View Post
turn off vibrations and sounds and you cant get hacked!

and you save battery life!
Wrong. They are using a phone accelerometer to pick up vibrations and translating them to keyboard strokes.
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post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty453 View Post
simple way to avoid this, get a spring or mechanical keyboard, pretty sure it'd be hard to tell a keystroke from the key clicking down.
Not really..... there are not-so-subtle differences between each key strike.

The sound of each key is NOT exactly alike due to manufacturering variances, reverberation, depression distance, and propegation delay. With some math, you can determine what is being typed.


Proof-of-concept has shown that it is possible to gather intelligence based on HDD sounds.
Edited by DuckieHo - 10/19/11 at 9:36am
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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty453 View Post
simple way to avoid this, get a spring or mechanical keyboard, pretty sure it'd be hard to tell a keystroke from the key clicking down.
using swype keyboard makes thier tech useless then.
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