Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Security

    How about capturing the key strokes without a stinky 'KEYLOGGER'.

    Hello All,

    I was wondering if anybody out there has researched security of wireless
    keyboards. Although I'm sure many people have very interesting opinions,
    what I need is solid technical information.


    A sneaky eavesdropper, Eve, would like to find out some gossip on her
    neighbor, Alice. Eve knows that Alice uses Yahoo for her email, and would
    just love to be able to log in to Alice's Yahoo mail account. But she
    doesn't know Alice's password. But luck, it seems, may be in Eve's corner,
    as Alice has recently installed a snazzy new wireless keyboard/mouse combo
    on her home computer. Eve, using her formidable knowledge of radio and
    electronics, sets up an antenna to pick up keyboard transmissions from
    Alice's house. After some persistence, Eve's laptop records a username,
    alice yahoo com and a password, "opensesame". Eve, ecstatic, logs on to
    Yahoo with the captured password and reads Alice's email, discovering lots
    of juicy secrets.

    Although this Alice/Eve scenario is fictional, it seems plausible. For a
    true story, see:


    My job involves reviewing computer security at a bank, and I was very
    surprised to see that nearly all of the computers at one of my branches are
    using these wireless mouse/keyboard combos. It seems like this could be a
    potentially serious security risk, so I would like to do some research on
    this topic. If these manufacturers have incorporated strong security
    measures, then I would like to know what they are. Or if not, then it would
    be better to know than not to know so as to take appropriate precautions.
    (see the above PCWorld story. Note that only 4000 combinations are used,
    trivial for a computer to crack) Of particular interest to me are:

    1. How possible/easy/difficult is it to eavesdrop and capture keystrokes
    from a wireless keyboard using passive means only? What equipment/expertise
    does this require? (I am thinking it would probably take at least a spectrum
    analyzer, receiver, a laptop, and some custom software) What about taking
    the keyboard apart and reverse engineering it?

    2. How easy/difficult would it be to take control of a computer without
    having physical access to the keyboard at the console? What
    equipment/expertise would this require? (Probably at least the same as
    above, plus a transmitter)

    One example of a wireless keyboard/mouse combo is displayed here:


    By entering the following FCC ID's into the FCC website, you can get quite a
    bit of interesting information.

    FCC ID's: C3KKB9 (keyboard), C3K1008 (mouse)


    There are many docs, including photos and lab tests, on the associated
    pages. For example, FCC docs show that this particular keyboard transmits on
    a frequency of 27.095 - 27.195 MHz. From the internal photos, it doesn't
    seem there are enough electronics to perform advanced encryption.
    Culled from : http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/105/394018
    .............._...... _.......__
    /..\\/..|_| |_.|_ |_ /..\\ |\\

  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    Anything that broadcasts a signal is inherently more insecure than a device that is hard wired. Even if only because it takes a much more deliberate approach to attack a hard wired system, and the hard wired system is fundamentally directional (although it is possible to leach information from fibre optic and standard network cables if you have the right equipment).

    I remember the very early days of cordless telephones...............if you used your handset closer to your neigbour's base unit than your own, the chances were that he would be billed for the call. I am talking a town house/appartment scenario here.

    Up until a few days ago my experience of wireless peripherals was restricted to infra-red, then I had to rebuild this system with a radio mouse and keyboard. I would guess the range to be less than 6 feet and the devices had to be pointing at the receiver within an arc of around 90 degrees.

    This would make sense, because in an office environment, they would pretty soon start interfering with eachother. Obviously a directional signal is more secure than a broadcast one.

    Where I see a real potential problem is with devices that broadcast, and have a much greater range (bluetooth for example). Although they send encrypted information, and authenticate with the other device, the encryption level may be lower than the rest of your system...........and a chain is as strong as its weakest link.

    just my thoughts

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts