iPhone spyware can snoop on desktop typing

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

A team of researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated how they were able to spy on what was typed on a regular desktop computer’s keyboard via the accelerometers of a smartphone placed nearby.

Normally when security researchers describe spyware on smartphones, they mean malicious code that can be used to snoop on calls, or to steal the data held on mobile phones.

In this case, however, researchers have described how they have put software on smartphones to spy on activity *outside* the phone itself – specifically to track what a user might be doing on a regular desktop keyboard nearby.

It sounds like the stuff of James Bond, but the researchers paint a scenario where a criminal could plant a smartphone on the desk close to their target’s keyboard and use specialist software to analyse vibrations and snoop on what was being typed.

It’s a quite beautiful twist on how bad guys could use microphones to “hear” keystrokes and spy on your passwords.

Patrick Traynor, an…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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