Computer security is an abstract concept. Firewalls? Passwords? Antivirus softwares? Maybe, but now add a silencer to the list. It is now possible to eavesdrop on a typist’s keystrokes and, by exploiting minute variations in the sounds made by different keys, distinguish and decipher what is being typed. Damn.
Credit for this discovery goes to Dmitri Asonov, a computer-security researcher for I.B.M. at the Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. The principle is a simple one. Keyboards are a bit like drums: the keys rest atop a plastic plate; different areas of the plate yield different sounds when struck. The human ear can’t tell the difference, but if the sounds are recorded and processed by a highly sophisticated computer program, the computer can, with a little bit of practice, learn to translate the sounds of keystrokes into the appropriate letters and symbols.
This means that firewalls and passwords will amount to nothing if someone manages to bug a room and record the cacophony of keystrokes.
Ah, another sound I enjoy Eman; keystrokes.
The age of technology.