Need another reason to replace your old mechanical keyboard, and impress your peers with your superb typing speed? Well, it is not difficult; All it takes, to know what to write on a noisy mechanical keyboard, is a microphone and some smart software.
Hackers have come up with countless ways to hack a secure computer keyboard. Some are as simple as adding keystroke tracking software via a console’s USB connection, while others are more sophisticated and insidious, including using a laser to detect vibrations from nearby surfaces when someone is typing on the keyboard.
Some keystroke monitors track the fluctuation of electrical power lines, which occur every time we press a key.
There are other reasons to be suspicious , provided the keyboard is connected to the computer wirelessly; It turns out that many models are riddled with vulnerabilities, which can be easily exploited.
But there is also a much simpler way to find out what someone is typing on the keyboard, without having to hack radio waves or other electronic tricks. A person will only need a mechanical keyboard, and a geographical range of no more than 3 km.
The sound of keystrokes on some tablets can be deafening; It’s too poor for those who don’t use noise-canceling headphones, but it’s great for hackers who can use a very simple tool, the microphone.
Keyboard sound reveals what you are typing
Georgy Jirganov has been working on a project that will determine what is typed using keyboard tap sounds, even keyboards that are not connected to the device and are free of electrical power. But his earlier methods relied on computer models that required some training first.
The keyboard user needs to type in a set of words and phrases, which are already known, so that when the content is unknown, the Girganov program will use them as a starting point for interpreting what is being written. It also needs that the position of the microphone not change between the training and demonstration phases, which limits the practical capabilities of using this method.
Jerganov is now testing Keytap3 , the third version of the beta program, which eliminates the need for prior training and all other limitations. Use of the software requires any acceptable microphone, such as the one built into smartphones and laptops, and an application that can be embedded and launched directly from the website page.
As Jerganov explains, “The program works by grouping the observed keystrokes, based on phonemic similarity, and then using statistical information from character repetition in the text language.”
Some letter combinations are used more in English than others; With that knowledge, and the speed with which we can write commonly used combinations of letters, thanks to muscle reminiscence, a very reasonable and reasonable guess can be made.
And whether you want to go to the Jirganov website, to try the tool yourself, you will need a mechanical keyboard and a good command of English writing, in order to get good results.
By “good,” we mean that this tool is not 100% error free in its ability to guess what is being written. But it delivers surprisingly accurate, and at times unsettling, results. She can’t extract a long email, Word for Word, just by listening. But it can extract usernames, passwords, and even website URLs, and other information that you wouldn’t want to share with others.