Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wireless keyboard encryption easily broken

This was kind of an interesting story for tonight. From my readings and understanding, the encryption on Microsoft Wireless keyboard has been broken. This is nothing to be alarmed about in my opinion.

First if you ever had a RF wireless keyboard you know the range. There great in the same room but, one room away it works ok, little iffy at times; some keys may not register all the time. Therefore the hacker has to be in within 50 or so feet. So if there some one in your living room, you don't know, you have more things to worry about. Just to cover all areas in this matter, in an office build it would be very useful. If you worked at an insurance company, with hundreds of computers on the same level you’re bound to find someone typing personal information. Only problem it is an office building, wireless keyboards are not standard issued.

Besides the range, the equipment need to scan the 20 MHz frequency is not on every ones Christmas list. It may be possible to hack up an old wireless keyboard receiver, but those who have them know how limited they are. This is not like a wi-fi wep crack, since every laptop now comes with a wireless card, which has mix mode to scan the air space.

The encryption on Microsoft's wireless keyboards is so simple it only has 256 possible keys. You can guess the key using only 20-50 keystrokes. Someone could potentially create a wireless key logger that captures characters from every keyboard in the office.

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