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Hackers can detect what is being typed with a smartphone

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Using just a smartphone, hackers can listen to what is being typed with remarkable accuracy and access your personal information. According to researchers from Dallas-based Southern Methodist University (SMU), it’s possible to access your information in a subtler way: by using a nearby smartphone to intercept the sound of your typing.

The team from from SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cybersecurity found that acoustic signals, or sound waves, produced when we type on a computer keyboard can successfully be picked up by a smartphone.

The sounds intercepted by the phone can then be processed, allowing a skilled hacker to decipher which keys were struck and what they were typing.

The researchers were able to decode much of what was being typed using common keyboards and smartphones – even in a noisy conference room filled with the sounds of other people typing and having conversations.

“We were able to pick up what people are typing at a 41 per cent word accuracy rate. And we can extend that out – above 41 per cent – if we look at, say, the top 10 words of what we think it might be,” said Eric C. Larson, assistant professor in SMU Lyle School’s Department of Computer Science.


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