Mumbai: Smartphones can listen to what you type on PC

Mumbai: You might have heard of hundreds of stories about hacking, but this one will surely surprise you. A recent study suggests your cellphones can be used to listen to what you are typing on your laptop keyboard.

If you are typing something on your PC even in a crowded place, a malicious hacker can use your cellphone to understand what you are typing.

According to the study, when we key in something on a computer or a laptop, it produces sound waves, the signals are key specific. It means every keystroke produces a different sound. The signals can be picked up by the smartphone’s sensor, such as microphone, gyroscope and accelerometer.

The study further states that a hacker can interpret these signals to know what you are typing on your keyboard by simply interpreting signals sent from the smartphone.

The microphone can detect the sounds made by keystrokes, while the gyroscope and the accelerometer, could be used to detect the vibrations. Researchers built an application using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to verify this hypothesis.

When the app was put to the test, its result shocked everyone. With this app, the researchers could detect almost 42 per cent of the keystrokes, and to their surprise, 27 per cent words were detected correctly. They obtained similar results even in the noisy surroundings.

Initially, the test was conducted without any user-specific inputs. When the researchers customised their app with user specific data, such as user’s profile, the type of keyboard he was using and the material on which the laptop was placed, the accuracy rate was much higher.

“In this digital era nothing is impossible and the threat of such type of spying could not be ruled out,” said a cyber expert Rakesh Agarwal, “but users can minimise the risk by keeping a sheet on the keyboard like a silicon keyboard skin over the keyboard to minimize the keystroke’s sound,” he added.


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