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iPhone spyware can be used to capture Desktop computer Key strokes

iPhone can be used to capture the Desktop computer keystrokes.  Sounds interesting?A team of researchers at Georgia Tech demonstrated how to use the accelerometers of a smartphone to capture the Keystrokes of Desktop Computers by placing nearby.

Patrick Traynor, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science, admits that the technique is difficult to accomplish reliably but claims that the accelerometers built into modern smartphones can sense keyboard vibrations and decipher complete sentences with up to 80% accuracy.

"We first tried our experiments with an iPhone 3GS, and the results were difficult to read," said Traynor. "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."

Researcher posted what displayed in iPhone:

Presently the spyware cannot determine the pressing of individual keys through the iPhone's accelerometer, but "pairs of keystrokes" instead. The software determines whether the keys are on the right or left hand side of a standard QWERTY keyboard, and then whether the pair of keys are close together or far apart.

With the characteristics of each pair of keystrokes collected, it compares the results against a dictionary - where each word has been assigned similar measurements.

For example, take the word "canoe," which when typed breaks down into four keystroke pairs: "C-A, A-N, N-O and O-E." Those pairs then translate into the detection system’s code as follows: Left-Left-Near, Left-Right-Far, Right-Right-Far and Right-Left-Far, or LLN-LRF-RRF-RLF. This code is then compared to the preloaded dictionary and yields "canoe" as the statistically probable typed word.

For understandable reasons, the technique is said to only work reliably on words which have three or more letters.

Text recovery

Henry Carter, one of the study's co-authors, explained the attack scenario that they envisaged could be used:

"The way we see this attack working is that you, the phone’s owner, would request or be asked to download an innocuous-looking application, which doesn’t ask you for the use of any suspicious phone sensors."

"Then the keyboard-detection malware is turned on, and the next time you place your phone next to the keyboard and start typing, it starts listening."

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