Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Laser Sniffing Captures Typed Keystrokes From 50-100 Feet

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the shoot-back dept.

Security 146

Death Metal writes "Chief Security Engineer Andrea Barisani and hardware hacker Daniele Bianco used handmade laser microphone device and a photo diode to measure the vibrations, software for analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes, as well as technology to apply the data to a dictionary to try to guess the words. They used a technique called dynamic time warping that's typically used for speech recognition applications, to measure the similarity of signals. Line-of-sight on the laptop is needed, but it works through a glass window, they said. Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on." (This is the same team that was able to pick up the electromagnetic signals emitted by PS/2 keyboards.)

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oblig (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347433)

Sharks with frigging lasers..

Re:Oblig (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347709)

THE REAL OBLIG: People who think they're clever for making repetitive posts.

Re:Oblig (2, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349023)

I'd like to know what sharks are doing with keyboards in the first place.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27351677)

I know I'd have trouble typing in my password with a shark with a laser hovering nearby

Re:Oblig (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352479)

Bathyscaphe hacking?

Infrared (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27353709)

Since typical window glass blocks a large portion of the infrared spectrum that lasers are tuned to, their idea of being stealthy seems less likely.

Not First Post (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347453)

I would have had first post, but I had to close my blinds to avoid anyone spying on my leet Slashdot posting skills.

Re:Not First Post (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347691)

You misspelled 133t, 14m3r!

Re:Not First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347769)

No, YOU misspelled 1337 (I'll even go further with 31337)!

Re:Not First Post (4, Funny)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347823)

n00b. 17'5 5p3113d \/\/17# 4 "7." 17'5 5p3113d "1337." 101

Re:Not First Post (5, Funny)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348355)

n00b. 17'5 5p3113d \/\/17# 4 "7." 17'5 5p3113d "1337." 101

Oh. My. God... I could read that.

I'm going to go get laid ASAP, burning sun be damned!

Re:Not First Post (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348555)

n00b. 17'5 5p3113d \/\/17# 4 "7." 17'5 5p3113d "1337." 101

Oh. My. God... I could read that.
I'm going to go get laid ASAP, burning sun be damned!

Eerily, not only could I read it, but so could my wife and our teenage kids!

Re:Not First Post (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27351943)

Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:Not First Post (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348591)

101. 7#47'5 pR06461y 4 g00d 1d34 ;-) 631/3v3 /\/\3, u 5#0u1d 63 g14D 5145#d07 d035/\/'7 4110\/\/ un/c0d3 c#4R5 0r 7#15 c0u1d g37 pr377y kR4zY, Y0u k/\/0\/\/?

Re:Not First Post (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27350107)

i'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but: no, no you're not.

Re:Not First Post (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354235)

Lol, that was my first thought to :)

Re:Not First Post (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27353995)

Incidentally, I wonder how much fun we could have with this sentence. Just start showing it to random people.

----

Me: "It's the supposed formula for cold fusion."

Physics Student: "I mean, as a chemistry formula it makes sense, but in some ways it doesn't... # isn't even a chemistry symbol! Unless..." -proceed with four hours of rambling-

----

Me: "It's a diagram of a portion of the circuitry that's in the new iPhone. I think it's like, some Chinese system of mapping out electrical stuff.:

Electrical Engineer: "It's brilliant! The 7s are obviously resistors, and if we assume that the # is a redundant capacitor to prevent overload..."

----

It's probably work on any major aside from computer sciences. I'm pretty sure most people in that field take LSL (Leet as a Second Language).

Re:Not First Post (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349097)

Except it wouldn't work. The sound would still reach the glass and be picked up by the laser mic.

Re:Not First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27349865)

I had to turn up my bass speakers. You know, to make the windows constantly vibrate, ruining any attempt to record conversations spoken or typed.

It's that, or work on my alternative typing patterns, using an alternate key layout and forcing myself to make awkward pauses while typing. Listening to loud music is also more fun.

Re:Not First Post (2, Insightful)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27353415)

If the song you play can be identified and reproduced to a good degree of the distortion created by your room and the bass levels, then removing that from the data stream is not particularly difficult. You would actually have to play two different songs at some non-standard or perhaps continuously variable playback-rate in order to create something hard to find and duplicate so that it couldn't be simply removed from the recording. It's like those Bose noise-canceling headphones, by sampling the sound as it comes in they can subtract that sound from what you actually hear. The same would apply here.

Easy to dectect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347473)

If you go blind while you are typing, you are probably being sniffed.

Or you are having severe problems with your retinas.

In either case, you should feel your way to an opthamologist quickly.

on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (3, Informative)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347575)

If you go blind while you are typing, you are probably being sniffed.

Or you are having severe problems with your retinas.

In either case, you should feel your way to an opthamologist quickly.

Actually, Infrared lasers only hurt eyes if you look directly into them. Using a low-powered infrared laser pointed at a keyboard wouldn't be any different than using a red laser pointed at a keyboard except that the victim would see the dot. Unless they're using a mirrored keyboard the light would be diffused and not refracted so it would be similar to looking at a resultant red dot from a laser instead of directly into a laser.

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (2, Interesting)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347959)

Also, the point is to point the laser at the window and have it reflect. By measuring changes in the angle of reflection you can reconstruct sound hitting the inside of the window. Double-pane glass with a vacuum between the panes removes this attack vector.

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348105)

Also, the point is to point the laser at the window and have it reflect. By measuring changes in the angle of reflection you can reconstruct sound hitting the inside of the window. Double-pane glass with a vacuum between the panes removes this attack vector.

Is it common for double-pane glass to contain anything that could be called a vacuum? I'll admit I don't know but I always thought they just had regular atmospheric-pressure air between the panes, as an extra layer of insulation. Would you need a proper vacuum to dampen the sound vibrations enough to defeat this attack?

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (2, Informative)

DieByWire (744043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350011)

Is it common for double-pane glass to contain anything that could be called a vacuum? I'll admit I don't know but I always thought they just had regular atmospheric-pressure air between the panes, as an extra layer of insulation.

A vacuum would be great for stopping heat loss, but isn't present in any normal double pane window. Atmospheric pressure (14 lbs/sq in) * the number of sq inches in a window pane is a big number. Any pane that didn't break would be noticeably bowed.

Some higher end double pane windows are filled with argon, since it insulates better than standard air.

They're filled with N2, Ar or plain air. (5, Informative)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350271)

Parent post is correct. I work for a window manufacturer and our IG units are only ever filled with normal air, nitrogen, or argon.

("IG units" are insulated glass units, AKA double pane windows, and consist of two lites of glass with a spacer between them. They are sealed shut with PIB and silicone.)

It's possible that they're confused by part of the manufacturing process where the IG units go through a vacuum chamber which removes all the air, before filling the units with nitrogen or argon and sealing them. But I'm quite sure we don't make any vacuum filled units. And even if we did, I have to think that at least some sound would be transmitted through the spacer that holds the two lites of glass apart.

As if the bow wouldn't be bad enough, the vacuum would cause the windows to explode even more violently than they already do if they were broken. As someone who has seen tempered lites of glass around 6' x 9' explode, I can tell you that your living room would already be a mess of broken glass if a picture window like that broke. You really don't want a vacuum in there to make things worse. Especially given that a window that size would likely be made out of 6 mm glass...

Well, I guess if someone was crazy enough to make a window like that, they'd use laminated glass. At least, I hope they would. Our customers are always trying to push the limits of how big you can allow a lite to get before it has to be thicker ...

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (1)

Robotbeat (461248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350423)

They use argon or xenon (on the expensive ones) to insulate double (or triple) pane windows. I know this because I was a door-to-door almost-salesman for a summer. Worst. Job. Evar.

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (1)

emlyncorrin (818871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349363)

Double-pane glass with a vacuum between the panes removes this attack vector.

Unfortunately, glass has this annoying property called transparency that allows laser beams to go straight through and be reflected from the inner layer...

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348973)

If you go blind while you are typing, you are probably being sniffed. Or you are having severe problems with your retinas.

Or you stopped listening to your mother and started looking at those websites she told you to keep away from...

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (2, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349877)

> Actually, Infrared lasers only hurt eyes if you look directly into them.

Someone could mistake what you are saying, so let me state the following: there is no eye-safe wave length.
The wave-length of the laser only decides which kind of injury it might inflict to your eye, when the energy density is high enough. Granted, for UV wavelengths a lower energy density is dangerous, but the difference between visible light and infra-red can be neglected. Which is comes similar to what you are saying next.

> Using a low-powered infrared laser pointed at a keyboard wouldn't be any different than using a red laser pointed at a keyboard except that the victim would see the dot.

Granted, a sufficiently low powered infra-red laser wouldn't cause any more harm than a visible laser (green or red).
But, looking inadvertantly in the red laser triggers the eye reflex, something what infra-red light would not, as you don't perceive it. So, a NIR can be more dangerous.
So a common 1mW visible light laser is class 2, while the 1mW infra-red is class 3, because you simply wouldn't notice, that your eye is blinded.

Re:on the contrary: !Easy to dectect (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349889)

s/eye reflex/blink reflex/g

Re:Easy to dectect (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347859)

You should go see Doctor Odin [slashdot.org] or another retina specialist. And yes, I know the irony of his name.

Dr. Odin shined a high powered laser into my left eye several times. The laser is used to weld a torn retina back together, the linked journal is about the vitrectomy he performed after the retina detached.

I would not wish a vitrectomy on my worst enemy. Becoming a cyborg [slashdot.org] is a piece of cake by comparison.

Re:Easy to dectect (1)

chandani (1044202) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348747)

If you go blind while you are typing, you should probably be typing with both hands.

Re:Easy to dectect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27349225)

As if he can type with those hairy palms anyways.

Re:Easy to dectect (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 5 years ago | (#27354257)

If you go blind typing, you should maybe leave, the p00rn chat room?

Let's... (4, Funny)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347475)

dynamic time warp again!

Re:Let's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347615)

<voice=deep voice typical of old movie trailers>Dragon's Lair: Time Warp!</voice>

It's just a jump to the left (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350681)

And then a step to the right

tinfoil time (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347577)

looks like it's time to stock up on tinfoil and old reflective (mainly old aol) cds.

imagine what the govt can do if regular scientists can do this with regular lasers (not including with sharks)

Re:tinfoil time (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348023)

looks like it's time to stock up on tinfoil and old reflective (mainly old aol) cds.

imagine what the govt can do if regular scientists can do this with regular lasers (not including with sharks)

Consider that around 1980, they (the US Gov't) admitted to having spy satellites that could photograph a vehicle's license plate from orbit. That's what they were willing to admit to back then; you can bet that their most advanced technologies were kept secret. Then the stealth bomber was kept a secret for about thirty years. Anyone who saw one back when it was secret would have probably called it a UFO since, well, it's a flying object that couldn't be identified without proper security clearances. At least, I know that the U-2 spy plane caused UFO reports back when it was a secret. This makes me wonder if years from now, we'll learn that some of these "flying saucers" and the incredible maneuvers they can do were actually some kind of experimental aircraft.

It's not so absurd that the secret government technology would be years ahead of private industry. For one thing, private industry has to make a profit and can't devote all of their resources to pure research. For another, government agencies, particularly those which are defense-related, receive ridiculous amounts of funding. That's the ones we know about; I suspect that some of these $400 toilet seats and such were a way to fund some of the kinds of projects that fall under "national security". Then consider the talent to which they have access. I've heard that the NSA likes to recruit top mathematics students and wouldn't be surprised to learn that such recruitment efforts are more common.

You raise an excellent point. I wonder if we'll ever know, even years later, about half of the things that are going on right now.

bargain seats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27348203)

wow.....toilet seats are suppose to go for $600.

Re:tinfoil time (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348691)

admitted to having spy satellites that could photograph a vehicle's license plate from orbit.

I still have yet to see a picture of a license plate (horizontal OR vertical) from space. If they can take a picture of a flat object mounted 90 degrees at any distance from the source, I would certainly be impressed.

Re:tinfoil time (1)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349039)

for years i've argued that the supposed "UFO" sightings in Ohio, Utah, and Arizona were the Air Force/CIA/whoever testing new aircraft.

mind you, that doesn't mean I don't believe in alien spacecraft...

Re:tinfoil time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27350737)

A buddy of mine was recruited by the NSA and he was as you said, a top math student. He actually turned them down because he didn't want to move to Virginia!

Now he's a network administrator at a private hospital and works way too many hours for probably not enough pay and definitely not enough recognition. Ugh.

Re:tinfoil time (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348151)

This [xkcd.com] seems apposite.

It goes without saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347579)

Don't look directly at the keyboard with your remaining good eye.

Sounds like a good way to curb people who hunt-and-peck!

What is it with these guys? (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347715)

It's time to switch to a DVORAK keyboard [wikipedia.org] . Let them sniff that.

Re:What is it with these guys? (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347791)

It's time to switch to a DVORAK keyboard [wikipedia.org] . Let them sniff that.

Actually, Dvorak users tend to be the most sniffable, in the literal olfactory sense of the term.

Re:What is it with these guys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347909)

No one wants to sniff a Dvorak keyboard when a typical Dvorak user is using it.

Re:What is it with these guys? (2, Insightful)

srollyson (1184197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347931)

I don't know if that's a good enough defense. TFA says that the laser sniffing method is "analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes." Once you've got a signature for each key and a large enough typing sample, your problem is reduced to a simple substitution cipher.

Re:What is it with these guys? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348101)

Clearly the solution is to type all your work in Esperanto, on a chorded keyboard. Let them sniff that.

Re:What is it with these guys? (2, Funny)

srollyson (1184197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348365)

Nah. The trick is to memorize a 4096-bit RSA keypair and encrypt your typing.

Re:What is it with these guys? (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352271)

how about the morse-code-on-the-spacebar hack from cryptonomicon? would that be sufficiently confusing?

Re:What is it with these guys? (1)

IQgryn (1081397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348153)

It'll work just as well as any keyboard layout. Unless you manage to switch layouts every few minutes, they will simply come up with a different map of sounds to letters. It will still be successfully analyzed, since you're using the same map of keys to letters.

clickity clack (1)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347719)

Bummer.
My favorite keyboards are always the loudest ones.

Re:clickity clack (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348965)

Bummer.
My favorite keyboards are always the loudest ones.

And your recorded keyboard sounds of innocuous typing will become your new favorite background music.

Re:clickity clack (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349303)

Make an MP3 of random key press noise and music mixed... and play it loud. Better yet write a program to play back individual key stroke noises randomly based on your normal typing speed. I too like the old click clack keyboards, I've even got spares.

Re:clickity clack (0, Troll)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352413)

Clever idea.

Also interesting: That MP3 means "recording".

How prevent spying? (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347723)

Just type with l33t text or other slang what words ain't on the dictionary and they just cant find out what you are typing.

Even school kids knows this and thats why they write short messages with their cell phones and for tests so the kid on the next bench can not copy what they write....

Re:How prevent spying? (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348139)

Just type with l33t text or other slang what words ain't on the dictionary and they just cant find out what you are typing.

I'll just pull my tinfoil hat down over my eyes and face - that'll stop 'em.

Re:How prevent spying? (0, Redundant)

Yamamato (1513927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348293)

It's "1337" not "l33t", noobtard.

Re:How prevent spying? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348987)

Just type with l33t text or other slang what words ain't on the dictionary and they just cant find out what you are typing.

The invisible lasers are listening. Write in codes and speak in tongues!

Gods, we sound like madmen.

Easy solution... (0, Redundant)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347759)

Go back to Dvorak.

Sorry, the nerd in me speaks :p

Re:Easy solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27348035)

I don't see how dvorak would that solve the problem at all. I didn't RTFA but if its the same tech. used in the past then it is based on frequency of the repetitions of the different sounds each key makes (not the audible frequencies themselves.) Pressing the 'a' key a hundred times if its in qwerty or dvorak format doesn't change things.

Re:Easy solution... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348387)

Dammit I was hoping nobody would notice :)

Sniff This, Mr Laser: +1, Incendiary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347821)

KKAABBBBBOOOOMMMMMMM! [youtube.com] .

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

Wait what? (1)

Diracy (1497469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347831)

Looks like I'll need to buy blinds for my basement windows now.

Re:Wait what? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348341)

Basements with windows seems slightly ridiculous.

Of course, anything with Windows seems slightly ridiculous I guess.

[tongue in cheek, posted from Win XP..)

Apple has sloved this issue (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27347871)

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/apple_introduces_revolutionary

Because my work is so valuable (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27347977)

Everything I type on my keyboard is of great value, so of course spies will adopt sophisticated technologies to try to monitor me. They want to be wealthy and famous just as I have .. oh wait.

Re:Because my work is so valuable (1)

mcostas (973159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348657)

Yes, this article is much more lame than it first seemed. Sniffing keystrokes is most useful for stealing passwords. But these guys actually have a horrible accuracy and need to use dictionary based prediction to guess words, which won't work for any reasonable passwords.

Re:Because my work is so valuable (1)

CroDragn (866826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352495)

The problem is, there are far more "unreasonable" passwords in use than reasonably good ones.

50-100 feet away (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348027)

Fine, I'll just make sure I'm less that 50 feet away.

Line of sight needed? (4, Funny)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348165)

I hear that a pair of binoculars works well for this purpose, too. I'm told that they even work through glass.

HA! (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348215)

Just try sniffing my keystrokes! I use the on screen keyboard.

Re:HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27348475)

You don't know much about Van Eck Phreaking, do you?

Re:HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27348995)

WOOOOSHHHHHHHH

Yeah, but I bet they can't guess what number I'm (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348289)

...thinking of. (Not very much, though.)

Just Great... (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348309)

Now I need a bigger piece of tinfoil!

Re:Just Great... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349069)

Now I need a bigger piece of tinfoil!

Shiny side out! Take THAT, laser.
Though a tinfoil covered laptop might get lousy wifi reception...

The thing that impresses me the most is... (1)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348359)

If they did this in a movie a couple of years ago, I would have called bullshit on them.

Simple. Encrypted keyboard. (2, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348465)

Use a keyboard which changes the entire key layout every time you press any key.

Aren't windows fairly IR opaque? (1)

beezhive (827703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348487)

I seem remember reading or hearing somewhere that windows were fairly IR opaque. (Maybe it was Mythbusters?) Anyway, if that's the case, you just need to stay inside and watch your keyboard like a hawk to prevent people spying on you...

mod Up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27348583)

sudden 4nd BSD had b3come

Scare them! (1)

x78 (1099371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27348809)

Well I guess we'll all have to start typing "I KNOW YOU'RE SPYING" every few minutes or so, shift held down of course (no copy-pasting!),
That'll show them!
See http://xkcd.com/525/ [xkcd.com] for funnies

Get Smart! (3, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349019)

And the keystroke that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the cone... of silence.

That's 20-30 meters in real units. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349209)

...

Cooler than van-Eck phreaking (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349267)

For high-tech methods of electronic surveillance, I thought Stephenson's van-Eck phreaking in Cryptonomicon held the record. But laser microphones clearly win as far as range is concerned. :)

As long as they can't capture... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27349605)

>Laser Sniffing Captures Typed Keystrokes From 50-100 Feet

As long as they can't capture keystrokes typed with your hands, I feel pretty safe.

Gotcha (0, Redundant)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27349635)

"Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on."

An infrared laser would not "work through a glass window". Most glass is essentially opaque to infrared. That's why your car gets so hot in the summer... UV comes in, warms up the upholstery, but the IR emitted from the hot interior just reflects off the glass, back into the car.

Tough to do undetected through a window, I'd guess (1)

DieByWire (744043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350135)

Line-of-sight on the laptop is needed, but it works through a glass window, they said. Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on.

The reason greenhouses work so well is that glass does a decent job of blocking infrared light (hmmm... maybe someone can think up a catchy name for the effect).

I'm not an optics wonk but I'd expect the infrared laser through a window trick would be tough to pull off. Especially so if the glass is low-e.

Re:Tough to do undetected through a window, I'd gu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27352945)

so use a uv laser and hope the targets laptop doesn't fluoresce

White Noise Generators (1)

CaputNoodle (1124021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27350793)

A company that I used to work for put white noise generators on some of the windows to prevent lasers from picking up sounds inside the rooms. Obviously, this was only done for very secretive projects.

Re:White Noise Generators (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352319)

don't forget to close the blinds--the "reflection" from a white wall is reconstructable for a source from up to a dozen feet away or so, iirc, so facing your computer away from the window is no use.

This FP for GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27350821)

Posts. Therefore codE sh4ring

Line of sight is required (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27351599)

AKA you can see the keyboard. What was the laser for again?

No need. (1)

nsaspook (20301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27351843)

Why waste the time snooping and cracking passwords when you could do things the old fashioned way. A red hot framing nail up the sysadmins uretha works every time.

    Quote from the "Jack Bauer diaries"

Warning! (1)

Trace Bullet (1199411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352243)

Do not sniff laser with remaining nostril.

so much for the model m (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#27352295)

the world's first decent reason not to use a model m. (of course, if you do get sniffed using one, you'll have a much better chance of killing the bastards with it than you will with some rubber-dome POS from dell....)

Researchers mining old spy technologies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27353263)

Having gained fame by re-using 35-year-old spy techniques on computer keyboards, they make headlines again using 20-year old infrared-laser-on-glass techniques.

I'm thinking of blowing everyone away by showing that "invisible ink" can be made with lemon juice and then read -- get this -- over a flame.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?