Oct 15, 2005

New computer security threat discovered by UC Berkeley scientists

A team of UC Berkeley researchers have revealed that audio recordings of keyboard clicks can be used to recover up to 96% of the characters entered. The study led by Principal Investigator Doug Tygar, a professor in the School of Information Management & Systems and computer science, is part of the UC Berkeley-led Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology (TRUST), a multi-institution center funded by the National Science Foundation to protect the nation's computer infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Researchers recorded users typing at a keyboard and then fed the audio into a computer. They were then able to use an algorithm to recover up to 96 percent of the characters entered. "It's a form of acoustical spying that should raise red flags among computer security and privacy experts," said Professor Tygar.

The results of their findings will be presented Nov. 10 at the 12th Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Alexandria, Va. For more information on the research, read the full press release.

Last updated:

October 4, 2016