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Beware the Haunted Cordless keyboard

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up dept.

Security 291

dr. greenthumb writes "The norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports about an incident where a computer suddenly seemed to develop a life of its own. A game which the user could not remember using that day suddenly appeared on the screen. When he went over to shut it off the screen displayed a message asking him if he "really wanted to delete this file?" His computer was receiving keystrokes from another computer (with the same type of wireless keyboard) 150 metres away! Check out the full story and a follow-up, where experts warns against using wireless keyboards." /me plans to destroy Hemos' sanity...

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291 comments

This story would (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586446)

be better suited for Haloween, not November 2nd.

missing option (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586460)

I don't have a cordless keyboard, YOU INSENSITIVE CLOD!!!

fifth post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586461)

fifth post

Re:fifth post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586465)

It was, as well.

see why... (5, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586462)

not all supposedly convenient technologies are necessarily better or more convenient. I like having a cord on my mouse and keyboard because 1) i know it's connected and 2) i know another isn't. Wireless keyboards etc. have no less a security risk involved as would a wireless network. Imagine being logged on as root and having the guy on the floor above you type in rm -rf /. while you hit the bathroom. even if your door is locked, you're still screwed.

Re:see why... (3, Funny)

kleinux (320571) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586482)

That would suck to explain to the boss. I didn't see the hacker because I was in the bathroom!
On a side note, maybe now my roomate will stop suggesting that we go wireless. I think the stuff sucks mostly because of needing to by batteries for something as basic as a keyboard seems really off the wall to me.

Re:see why... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586508)

Wireless mice arent much of a security hazard. if anyone is able to listen in on your wireless mouse, all they are going to get is cursor cordinates. unless you somehow enter your password using your mouse, theres not much usefull info to gain from a wireless mouse. It will also be very hard for someone else to do something to your pc though a cordless mouse, unless they can also see the screen. I cant stand corded mice anymore after owning a wireless mouse. Whenever i use corded mice in labs at school, or friends houses, i always find myself tugging on cords that get tangled up with something on or behind the desk or keyboard drawer. I however will never own a wireless keyboard. I had thought of security issues such as this long before this article appeared.

Re:see why... (3, Funny)

echophase (601838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586514)

Imagine a little cluster of computers running an instance of Counter Strike, you'd have an army all through the commands of a single keyboard. Kind of like Mr. Dubya Bush.
Forward men, we must kill the noobs!

Errrr (2)

Tensor (102132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586526)

You know precisely when your wireless kb/mouse are connected.

They are wireless to a base connected by cables to the mouse/kb mini-dins or to usb.

That is, unless you have a blootooth-enabled motherboard and a BT kb & mouse

Re:see why... (5, Informative)

PunchMonkey (261983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586557)

I like having a cord on my mouse and keyboard because 1) i know it's connected and 2) i know another isn't. Wireless keyboards etc. have no less a security risk...

Don't place too much confidence in the security of your keyboard, someone might slip one of these [thinkgeek.com] on.

Re:see why... (2)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586633)

That's what is called an insecure facility...if you have insecure facilities, you're still full of breaches.

Batteries (2)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586562)

That, and the bloody batteries won't run out in the middle of a very important task...

Re:see why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586642)

R-O-T-F-L !!!! 1st post ever on slashdot just to say this was the most !$%@ funny comment i have ever read =) I mean...that would really be fscked up! :D

7th post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586463)

w00t

Infrared keyboards. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586464)

So whatever happened to infrared keyboards?
Clear that "listening in" problem right up.

Three words.... (2, Funny)

sheWhoWalksWithToesL (606460) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586610)

Nightvision infrared goggles.

Re:Three words.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586620)

Dang, I would have guessed "line of sight" because if the keyboard can't see the IR receiver, you computer won't get the signals, whereas RF it can go through walls.

256 channels??? (5, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586466)

The attitude companies have towards security is appalling. Wireless keyboards have to use strong cryptography or credit card numbers and personal information are being broadcast across the neighborhood. 256 channels isn't going to fix it.

Re:256 channels??? (2)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586521)

My logitech cordless desktop has a "Secure Mode" that can be enabled where the keystrokes between the receiver and the keyboard are encrypted.

It's probably not any high-powered military strength security or anything, but I'm sure it's sufficient for my purposes.

Re:256 channels??? (1, Insightful)

RoundSparrow (341175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586542)

I like how you say you are sure, but you also say you don't know.

Humm....

Re:256 channels??? (2)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586625)

Because my purposes are watching DVDs and DiVXs hooked up to my TV ;P

I really don't care if someone watches the keystrokes on that machine.

Then again, I use one at work too to write emails and the like. I'm not particularly concerned, if someone thinks the stuff I write about at work is interesting enough to snoop my keyboard for, I pity da foo.

Re:256 channels??? (2, Insightful)

piranha(jpl) (229201) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586528)

For those of us in the audience that didn't notice:

Särelind said the next generation of keyboards would use a new technology which would choose randomly between 256 available channels, and promised to send both Evjeberg and Helle a copy.

The "256 channels" isn't for their existing wireless keyboards, it's for their "next generation" models.

A bit shy of cryptographically secure, I'd say. Credit card numbers and personal information aren't all that's at stake; think about your passwords, PGP passphrases, etc.

FCC wont let me be (2, Insightful)

++good-duckspeak (584950) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586468)

This must violate FCC requirements - you know that text on the bottom of your keyboard and mouse.

Re:FCC wont let me be (2, Informative)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586491)

Part 15 says they have to take flak from other licensed services and that if 2 part 15 devices are interfering with one another, tough luck they have to take it. Now if a part 15 is interfering with a licensed non part15 device then you have a problem that must be fixed...

Re:FCC wont let me be (5, Informative)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586567)

To be more complete, a Part 15 device is a secondary (or tertiary, if there is already a secondary) user of the entire radio frequency spectrum. That means that they can use the RF spectrum, as long as they don't cause harmful interference to a user with higher priority.

That means that if your device is hurting my ham radio operations on 146.880 MHz, then I sic the FCC on you, but if I interfere with you, I have primary user rights, so you're outta luck.

The primary, secondary, etc. system is just a pecking order for RF users. You can interfere with those with higer priority all you want, but Part 15 is always at the bottom.

SecurityFocus Discussed This (5, Informative)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586469)

Wireless keyboards have other security issues. Read up on the discussion that took place about this on SecurityFocus: http://online.securityfocus.com/archive/82/173944

150 meters ? (2)

Tensor (102132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586472)

WOW ! What kind of keyboard was it ??? My Logitech kb/mouse work AT MOST at 10~15 mts, and only if their batteries are full.

I guess you might have a wireless presentation mouse, i have a gyromouse too, but i find it unlikely that 2 are used in the same office simultaneously.

TV remotes do this too! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586475)

I have the same trouble with my tv remote. After the wife goes to bed, it turns to the TV-MA flicks on Cinemax and then clicks back to TLC or something whenever she walks in.

This is only the beginning (5, Insightful)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586476)

With Bluetooth finally making an appearance, expect to see a lot more of this. Since Bluetooth devices are supposed to automatically find each other and just "work", this is only going to become more common. Imagine giving a very important PowerPoint presentation when everything goes hawire when someone giving a presentation of their own the next floor up has their Bluetooth remote starting giving signals to your computer.

I know there are security and other settings that when properly configured will help prevent these mistakes, but just look at the number of unsecured business wireless networks out there that don't even have WEP turned on. Its going to be nasty.

Re:This is only the beginning (3, Interesting)

Tensor (102132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586500)

Bluetooth is a close-range wireless protocol (about 10mts), and products are "bound" to each other, if you re using a wireless headset and walk close to some one using one they wont mix signals.
I would be much more worried to someone "stealing" my emails/contacts from my bluetooth pda, using my cellphone to dial out, and eavesdropping on my conversations, than messing up presentations

Re:This is only the beginning (4, Insightful)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586539)

10 meters is about 30 feet. That'll easily cover 2 floors up or down from you.

Re:This is only the beginning (0)

Riptor7177 (126059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586583)

Still though, he's right about the products being "bound" together. Also, random channel switching like the one mentioned in the article will make it unlikely for your powerpoint presentation to be interfered with.

Bluetooth is much better (3, Informative)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586648)

Bluetooth security may not be perfect, but it's a whole lot better than this. Bluetooth devices are paired and can encrypt their communications. Furthermore, setting up Bluetooth security is much simpler than setting up 802.11b security, and many devices will simply not work unless the end user does. If all wireless keyboards switched to a proper Bluetooth implementation, security would be a whole lot better than with these random RF hacks.

Not quite as fun as VNC (5, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586477)


VNC in an office environemnt is a lot of fun with all the Windows users that never notice the little VNC server icon in the 'systray' - right next to their Gator and Bonzi Buddy icons.

I've got the keystrokes down just right

[Ctrl]+[Esc] -> r -> notepad -> Do you want to live, human? -> [F4]

under a second. Leaves the poor things troubeled. Confused. Hungering for the sweet realse of alcohol or a shotgun.

Or just move the mouse subtely when they go to click on somthing.

Of course, don't forget to tell them that it could be Bill Gates fucking with their computer - he's mad that they diden't forward the Windows 95 Beta email. He really wanted to give them $1000 and he's pissed his knickers.

Re:Not quite as fun as VNC (4, Funny)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586547)

And fortunatly there is even a Mac version of VNC, you should have seen the look on some of the graphic guys faces when their beloved Macs turned on them and told them to use PCs by order of Bill Gates at a web development company I worked at a few years ago :)

Re:Not quite as fun as VNC (2)

Hydro-X (549998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586553)

This is all I need... I just spent the better part of a day removing some SubSeven-like hax0r-expl0it thing that some guy installed on a friend's computer. And the person who thought she could remove it ended up ruining the uninstall. Of course given that I live in a university rez, this is going to make for some revenge and, because I'm "the computer guy", I will probably be quite busy. If these people start playing with VNC and other things beyond their (apparently limited) scope of understanding, I may never graduate!

Re:Not quite as fun as VNC (2)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586571)

Yes.

It *is* quite fun to know the WAN-wide VNC password.

*evil grin*

No, I wasn't responsible for that little detail.

Re:Not quite as fun as VNC (3, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586643)

When I had pcAnywhere installed on my old machine it was pretty simple to fire it up on the old @home network and suddenly finding myself on a password-less PC. I also ran notepad but wrote, "Put a damn password on your pcAnywhere!"

That's the nice thing about the open VNC apps, you can't run them without some password and if you try to brute force it (at least in tightVNC) it locks you out for x amount of time. Not to mention its free. Yes, I know there's no built in encryption, but that's besides the point.

Latest hacking fad. (5, Funny)

Defender2000 (177459) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586479)

That's right, WarKeyboarding! Boost the signal of your keyboard, and drive around town attempting to control random computers. Not seeing a screen is kind of difficult, but that's only a minor obstacle. Also use a tuned receiver to listen to keystrokes from around town. Passwords galore!

Re:Latest hacking fad. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586565)

Actually, that's a fantastic idea. You could send them to a URL and download and install whatever trojan.

Re:Latest hacking fad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586580)

... and transmit "rm -rf" and "format c /y" in a loop...

Re:Latest hacking fad. (5, Funny)

sheWhoWalksWithToesL (606460) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586646)

Ctrl + Alt +Del. Wait a few minutes.

Crtl + Alt + Del. Wait a few minutes.

Crtl + Alt + Del. Wait a few minutes.

Laugh maniacally. Repeat.

-SheWhoWalksWithToesLikeCobras

Re:Latest hacking fad. (3, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586647)

Just drive around with a WarKeyboard in your trunk that just send out a very powerful ALT+F4 non-stop.

hmmmm (1)

karmavore (618727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586483)

I suspect the manufacturer should expect a large order for the receiving units from the CIA, FBI, ...

Don't Wxorry about this. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586490)

My Log?tec keyboard hask been working for the law#tst two years witout any hi19tch.

Re:Don't Wxorry about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586564)

Then you never received a mobile phone call why using it. It gets mad and generates random text or at times just completely stalls!

Unique frequency? (1)

cmallinson (538852) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586492)

Many wireless user input devices require that the user push a button to "initialize" the connection. I thought that this allowed the mouse/keyboard to transmit a unique ID to the receiver, thus preventing other devices from interfering with the connection. If this is not the case, would it not be very simple to implement?

It wasn't me... (5, Funny)

DrFatal (587634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586493)

Finally I'll have a decent excuse why that webpage full of naked women was on the screen when my girlfriend walks into the computer room. "I swear honey, it wasn't me.."

Keyboards vs RC racers (1)

comet_11 (611321) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586494)

I've seen little radio controlled cars that offer different frequencies to avoid this kind of problem. Surely if a product designed for kids has this feature it couldn't be too difficult to implement something better for wireless business technology.

A frequency switch wouldn't be practical, but perhaps something that measures signal on a certain frequency range and picks the frequency with the least interference might work.

Re:Keyboards vs RC racers (1)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586586)

Growing up, I only noticed 2 frequencies for RC cars..somewhere along the lines of 22Mhz and 44Mhz. And believe me, if you get two of the same cars in the same range, one remote will own both of them. (Imagine the look on my face when playing with a friend's car realizing all the time MY car was havocolly running my remote HAD NO BATTERIES in it) .

I do believe that cordless phones automatically select channels (synomomous to frequency?) that provide the least interference, and this technology is continually improving. I've had 2 sets of 900Mhz cordlesses in the house on separate lines and didn't have any crossover. I've also never interferered with a neighbor's cordless phone.

Why don't cordless keyboards/mice work the same way I don't know. But I've never felt the need for a wireless keyboard anyway. (cordless mouse may be good for presentations). You can call me old-skool, but Wired computing is the only way to go. Wired Network, input devices, displays, etc. I dont make any 'sensitive' phone calls, but if I did I'd whip out the old cord phone.

This is just funny... (2)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586495)

Most wireless keyboards, like garage door openers, have their own unique codes and frequencies built in to them so one cannot interface with another in the same way.

The guy has just probably been netbus'ed, back orificed, etc, or someone's playing pranks on him...

Re:This is just funny... (5, Interesting)

aridhol (112307) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586506)

In theory, yes. How many combinations of frequency and code are there? My uncle used to work in a Ford factory, and every car that rolled off the assembly line together used the same key. It's possible that they keyboards have a similar problem.

Re:This is just funny... (2)

spike hay (534165) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586538)

My neighbor's garage door has a similar problem. Somebody one block down must have a garage door frequency the same as hers. Once in a while her door will go up or down on it's own.

Re:This is just funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586588)

there was a story in my local paper about how a mechanic was going to work on a bmw that a customer was supposed to leave in front of his shop.. the mechanic saw the bmw across the street at a diner so he went across the street and took it over to change the water pump or something. in reality, the guy never showed up. some poor snot at the diner had the same key as the other guy, same year, same color bmw. he called the police to report his stolen bmw..they found it across the street. the mechanic let him keep the new water pump.

Re:This is just funny... (2)

Osty (16825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586599)

Most wireless keyboards, like garage door openers, have their own unique codes and frequencies built in to them so one cannot interface with another in the same way.

According to the manual of my car, I can open some garage doors simply by revving my car's engine. I've not tried it, though.

Happens toH EmeY all the time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586496)

I uLse a LogUitecZh wirEelRess and mYouse. It's beOen happUening Rso muKch laEteYly, I'vSe gotAten uRsed to iEt. ThoRse meddUlinLg kiEds! GooDd thiDng they cOan't tRype as fKast at me.

Re:Happens toH EmeY all the time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586597)

HEYLUZERYOURKEYSARERULEDDORK??

and
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:Happens toH EmeY all the time (3, Funny)

jigma (470246) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586605)

HEY LUZER YOUR KEYS ARE RULED DORK ...man, I though I was gonna get a password

Wireless?!? (1, Funny)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586499)

Wireless keyboards don't work at all! I took the wire off my keyboard yesterday and the damn thing still does not work.

I want one! (1)

Dunkalis (566394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586501)

I'd love to own one of these things, and when I go to a friends house to play some UT or AA, I can drive him mad...

Seriously, this is pretty freaky. This is less secure than most wireless networks.

Good timing! (0)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586504)

I bought a cordless mouse and keyboard today made by microsoft today at compusa, and now I see this!!! hehe, oh well, they are working great.... Im sure no one else in my apartment is using them too.

Mod this guy "+1 sucker" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586516)

haha. Sucks to be you buddy.

Re:Good timing! NEVER GO TO COMPUSA. NOTHING BUT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586622)

fucking retards at compusa. i have never seen more retards in one place.

Not as bad as the haunted mouse... (5, Interesting)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586505)

Today's mice are well known to spiral the cursor in a circular motion around your screen at a high rate of speed, clicking the screen randomly when their internal circuitry begins to fry.

I've witnessed it twice ... once at a colleague's desk, and another time during an application demo.
It's great fun to explain that the problem is the mouse and not your app to a room full of speculative non-technical people.

Re:Not as bad as the haunted mouse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586602)

Yep. I've seen that several times since my first moused computer did it in '93

Re:Not as bad as the haunted mouse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586638)

That freaky mouse movement usually happens when the wrong mouse drivers are installed. That was a pain back in the days of serial mice.

I have one of these keyboards (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586509)

I've never Classified: had For Your problems Eyes with it Only.

Wireless is ok, but... (0)

arkain (198918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586510)

You'd have to wonder how long it's going to take before we've tied up all available frequencies with garbage signals comming from remotes, wireless devices, radios, etc. All of the EM radiation could eventually pose a problem too, just as it seems to do for people living too close to high voltage power lines. As the world SLOWLY becomes more technologically savvy the number of devices like this will likely increase. So I guess we can all look forward to a bright future of having our hair standing on end every time we enter a building due to the wireless /cordless traffic.

Curious thought... since the human body puts off an EM field too, how long will it be before just having a person walk past a wireless/cordless device will cause it to do something strange?

Re:Wireless is ok, but... (0, Flamebait)

gmajor (514414) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586537)

The idea that living close to power lines causes cancer or other disease is a _myth_. There is no truth to it. Unfortunately, this myth has caused property values to needlessly fall at the expense of a few select rabble rousers who enrich themselves by penning best-selling books promoting such lies.

huh (1)

mad mad ninja (610973) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586512)

wow, they got keyboards to work from 150 meters away? thats a bit overkill. and encryption or only having recivers accept transmission from the right keyboard would help, or maybe both, never know when "The man" wants to know you password for logging into slashdot.

Look at this article sweetie... (1)

bluemilker (264421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586515)

I told you that I would never go to bestiality porn sites! It must be the neighbors with their damn wireless keyboard! Hold me...

RF through the power lines (1)

SHiFTY1000 (522432) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586517)

I would imagine that the keyboard induced an RF signal down a power line, which was on the same local power circuit, and this was trasmitted through the second computers power supply (possibly due to poor filtering?)

From the article: "Additionally, the keyboard's radio signals can be transmitted to non-insulated cable. It is possible for the power cables in a computer to transfer the signal to the electricity network. Theoretically, 200 homes sharing the same circuit could tap into the signal directly from an electrical outlet."

IOW, not secure...

One Question (3, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586520)

"His computer was receiving keystrokes from another computer (with the same type of wireless keyboard) 150 metres away!"
  • What's a meter?

Re:One Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586559)

A meter is three feat.

I'm using a Wireless keyboard (4, Interesting)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586525)

I've been using a wireless keyboard anpined mouse for ages and I've haHey baby, I miss you!d no problems siWanna get together tonight?nce I got them.

Seriously, though. I've been using Logitech cordless desktops for years - I've had four in my apartment in close proximity with no problem, and used several at work as well. If a mouse or keyboard syncs with a base unit, it syncs to *that* unit. You can sync multiple devices to a base unit, but I have never seen a device sync to multiple base units. A nice little thing about Logitech's system is that they are all compatable - I like the simple diamond mouse and a keyboard without extra multimedia buttons, and detest the ergonomic "crashing wave" mouse. I can pick and choose my keyboard and mouse, walk over to a computer, hit the sync button and start using it at that terminal. The only problem I've ever had was when the living room computer was next to the multimedia computer and you sometimes synced to the wrong one... so you'd check before typing willy-nilly. :)

Wireless keyboards and mouses are great - I swear by them. I change batteries maybe once every 4 to 6 months, and don't ever have to worry about cables. At home I type in my lap, and can have my phone right against the top of my mousepad, my monitor to the left, and a glass of tea to the right and not worry about the cord catching the phone cord or knocking over the tea.

Now, I *would* like an encrypted signal, sure... but gimmie a break... who the hell cares to capture a few hours of my posting to Slashdot and writing rough drafts of lyrics? Certainly not *my* neighbors. Still, I ssh to my servers, and it would be really nice to have a secure connection to my keyboard. If I was really paranoid, I'd stick my monitors in a Faraday cage to prevent the video signal from being broadcast... everybody is sending *that* out (where everybody = really close to 100% of all computers).

--
Evan

hmmm (2)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586530)

Has anyone considered selling wireless hardware that would let me generate my own keys. Then let me install my own keys in my own hardware.

Preferrably with the option of selecting the encryption standard.

hoho (1)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586533)

And yet when I am in the living room using the computer connected to the TV my mouse pointer will stick if I sit at just the wrong angle on the sofa, making the distance to the receiver over 1.5m...

Technology, eh? Always works when you don't want it to, fails when you need it.

graspee

dvorak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586550)

how bout switching to dvorak layout? wouldnt other comps interpret it as jibberish :)

No surprise (1)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586572)

When this was new I ran into it at a comptuer show in Toronto.

When I asked the sales girl if her new wireless keyboard used any kind of cryptography she looked at me like I had two heads.

People are so stupid they deserve the shit they get.

boost your keyboard signal: www.lemonparty.org (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586582)

Excellent technical material...

Cryto keyboards (0)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586589)

They need a keyboard that sends everything encrypted, you enter your Digital ID into the keyboard, and into the reciever, and then everyone is safe and happy.

What's the point of wireless keyboards? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586592)

Why should I pay $20 more for a wireless keyboard when it never leaves my desk? I understand it on a mouse, since mice move around, but keyboards don't. I don't understand why some people pay extra money for something that requires batteries, is less reliable, costs more, and comes with security risks, when the wired alternative works just fine.

Re:What's the point of wireless keyboards? (1)

cyberise (621539) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586621)

These would be people that have larger desks. And connect their computers to TV sets. Much nicer to use a keyboard while sitting on the couch, as apposed to being 3 feet away from a large TV :)

MP3 playback (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4586594)

With DCMP3, you can turn your Sega Dreamcast into an MP3 player. It also allows you to store JPEGs on a CD and display them on your television set. You can download DCMP3 at www.dcemulation.com. It's too bad that the Dreamcast died out the way it did, it's a really great machine. Oh, by the way, Stephen King died.

New keyboards have 256 channels. (1)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586630)

And they all pick from one of the 256 at random. This means that if there are 2 keyboards in range of each other, there is a 1 in 256 chance that they share a frequency. If there are 3, there is roughly a 1.2% (1 - (255/256 * 254/256)chance that one of them will have a collision with another. From here we can find the probability that a group of x keyboards will have at least 1 collision.

If a company were to buy these in bulk, then a collision becomes fairly likely. If 10 keyboards are placed in range, the figure rises to 16%. If 30 keyboards (roughly the size of a classroom) are placed all in range of each other, this becomes 83%. This could become a problem pretty quickly.

securing wireless technologies... (5, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586635)

If only we could secure wireless technologies. Maybe we could have the signals travel in a secure method - maybe down some sort of tube. maybe the tube would have to have some sort of "antennae" - maybe it should be of some conductive material - like copper.

We should also make sure that these "tubes" are shielded in some way - with maybe a suple rubber coating.

Then the wireless signals could travel through this "tube" from the keyboard to the computer - thus rendering them safe from nasty hackers that may be listening.

Had this happen (sort of) (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4586654)

Had a Macintosh Performa 6200 which had a little square IR window in the front for use if one had the TV tuner card and IR remote, which I didn't have.

Sometimes, it would turn it's self off (bring up the Are You Sure You Want To Turn me Off) dialog window and sometimes it would turn it's self off.

That Mac Chime at 4 in the morning when it's not suposed to be on was spooky sometimes.

Turned out it was the building across the street would sometimes get an IR signal from thier Sony remotes and it'd trigger the Mac, and sometimes my Sony remotes would bounce off the window and turn it on/off.
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