Researches from from Michigan State University and the Nanjing University in China have discovered a new way to detect keystrokes, they have stated that it is theoretically possible to accurately detect keystrokes using the Wi-Fi signals from a plain router.
How Was It Possible For The Researchers?
Researches conducted an experiment which was called the WiKey, where they employed off-the-shelf equipment such as a TP-Link TL-WR1043ND WiFi router and a Lenovo X200 laptop.
Then they used the router’s MIMO(Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output) capabilities in order to collect the tiny shifts in Wi-Fi signals, which refer to a set of functions that allow each of the antennas to send multiple Wi-Fi signals on the same radio channel.
However only in environments with minimal signal interference, an attacker could use the disruptions in the router’s WiFi signals to detect the keys an individual presses on their laptop and use this data to steal their passwords
The Work Of Tiny Shifts In Wi-Fi Signals
When a person stands in front of the laptop and starts typing, WiKey is able to pick up disruptions in the Wi-Fi signals caused by the tiny shift of the user’s hands, fingers and keys. Wi-Fi signals were also previously used to read hand gestures and lip movements, so the accuracy of Wi-Fi signals is well established in scientific circles.
By training a special computer algorithm, our program would be able to detect which key presses are for what keys, and eventually manage to recover text entered on the laptop, according to the team.
In an environment with little movement and a slow-typing user, the system’s accuracy was 97.5%. However an a real-world scenario, that is with Wi-Fi field disruptions and a faster-typing user the system’s accuracy was between 77.43% to 93.4%.
Click here to get the research paper, titled- Keystroke Recognition Using WiFi Signals.