Researchers can keylog your PC using your iPhone's accelerometer

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Synthaholic, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Synthaholic
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    Synthaholic Platinum Member

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    Researchers can keylog your PC using your iPhone's accelerometer


    Researchers at Georgia Tech and MIT have developed a proof of concept to demonstrate that it is possible to record a computer user's keystrokes using an iPhone 4's accelerometer. The researchers developed a method to accurately translate the vibrations from typing on a keyboard picked up by the device's accelerometer when placed on a desk near a PC. Though they warn that hackers could potentially use their method to eavesdrop on a user's keystrokes, they believe the actual threat is quite low.


    The method, detailed in a paper titled “(sp)iPhone: Decoding Vibrations From Nearby Keyboards Using Mobile Phone Accelerometers,” works by interpreting pairs of keystrokes in successive order. According to principal researcher Patrick Traynor, assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science, the method can't reliably pinpoint single keystrokes. But by characterizing the successive strokes as left-right, right-left, left-left, or right-right, and then whether the pair is nearer or further away form the device, the pairs can be statistically analyzed to represent probably letter pairs. Then those pairs can be compared to a dictionary.


    According to Traynor, the method is 80 percent accurate with a 58,000 word dictionary. Even that accuracy, though, requires thoroughly modern equipment. “We first tried our experiments with an iPhone 3GS, and the results were difficult to read,” Traynor said in a statement. “But then we tried an iPhone 4, which has an added gyroscope to clean up the accelerometer noise, and the results were much better. We believe that most smartphones made in the past two years are sophisticated enough to launch this attack.”



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  2. PredFan
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    PredFan Gold Member

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    Not mine. I have a MacIntosh.
     
  3. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Just another thing to worry about.. The problem isn't that some smart dude or dudette figured out how to SENSE your keystrokes. The REAL problem is that they can access your phone and dump the data!!!
    That's a fatal flaw in both the design and the wireless system that carries it...
     

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