[Haifux] [HAIFUX LECTURE] Compromising Electromagnetic Emanations of Wired and Wireless Keyboards - presented by Roy Migdal

Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda ladypine at gmail.com
Mon May 10 10:18:51 MSD 2010

On Monday, May 102th (TODAY) at 18:30, Haifux will gather to hear Roy Migdal
present the work of  Martin Vuagnoux and Sylvain Pasini, which won the best
paper award at 18th USENIX Security Symposium (Usenix Security '09),
Montreal, Canada, August 10-14, 2009:

                           Compromising Electromagnetic Emanations of Wired
and Wireless Keyboards


Computer keyboards are often used to transmit confidential data such as
passwords. Since they contain electronic components, keyboards eventually
emit electromagnetic waves. These emanations could reveal sensitive
information such as keystrokes. The technique generally used to detect
compromising emanations is based on a wide-band receiver, tuned on a
specific frequency. However, this method may not be optimal since a
significant amount of information is lost during the signal acquisition. Our
approach is to acquire the raw signal directly from the antenna and to
process the entire captured electromagnetic spectrum. Thanks to this method,
we detected four different kinds of compromising electromagnetic emanations
generated by wired and wireless keyboards. These emissions lead to a full or
a partial recovery of the keystrokes. We implemented these side-channel
attacks and our best practical attack fully recovered 95\% of the keystrokes
of a PS/2 keyboard at a distance up to 20 meters, even through walls. We
tested 12 different keyboard models bought between 2001 and 2008 (PS/2, USB,
wireless and laptop). They are all vulnerable to at least one of the four
attacks. We conclude that most of modern computer keyboards generate
compromising emanations (mainly because of the manufacturer cost pressures
in the design). Hence, they are not safe to transmit confidential


We meet in Taub (CS Faculty) building, room 6. For instructions see:

Attendance is free, and you are all invited!


Future Haifux events include:
 24/5/10 KDE 4 - the good, the bad, and the broken - Dotan Cohen
07/06/10 The Ben Yehuda Project Software - Asaf Bartov
05/07/10 GarlicSim: An experimental tool for computer simulations - Ram
13/09/10 Secure File Systems: Orr Dunkelman

(The gap between the lectures is intended for YOU to lecture about something


We are always interested in hearing your talks and ideas. If you wish to
give a talk, hold a discussion, or just plan some event haifux might be
interested in, please contact us at webmaster at haifux.org


Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda.
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