Keysweeper: creepy keystroke logger camouflaged as USB charger



Wired keyboards are still where it’s at, folks.


How long until Van Eck is small enough to fit in something like that?


I use a Kinesis, so I’m like “whateva”, right? Microsoft is for n00bs, innit?


'Tis the future of computing, folks. Sensors and loggers so small and so pervasive, you probably won’t even know that you’re being recorded and pwned by the brand new coffee machine you bought last week.


Your coffee machine will be too busy mining bitcoins. You will be pwned by a keyfob in your pocket, that you didn’t even know has a processor/radio in it.


Get some SoC chip that can run linux fast enough. Strip the RTL2832U chip from a TV dongle, together with its companion tuner chip (or use the entire dongle as a bare board, for some added space penalty). And voila, you’re there. Possibly could be made even from off-the-shelf modules without having to handle SMD chips.

I’d suggest using something like a mains power strip there, though. You have more space there, and you can use a longer antenna.

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For small-sized pen testing devices, I think I’ve fallen in love with the latest Pwnie Express


Are all wireless keyboards vulnerable? I use an Apple keyboard with my Mac, and I thought it said something during the Bluetooth pairing process about it being secure, but I don’t really recall. That’s an absurdly huge security hole, if so. Forget using FireSheep in a cafe, every other person I see is using an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard.

What advantages does it have in comparison with Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, BeagleBone Black, or similar board, with USB peripherals for the wireless, and running the appropriate pentesting distro, to justify the $1000 cost?

Well that’s… evil.

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Microsoft’s mistake is they attempt to roll their own encryption, which is a huge mistake. The far majority of their keyboards (except newer, specific ones) do not use Bluetooth or support bluetooth because Windows has historically had such piss-poor bluetooth support BT was almost unusable. There are multiple Bluetooth stacks in Windows and the Microsoft developed one doesn’t support many features and didn’t even support secure pairing until Windows 7.

Bluetooth itself is much, much, much more secure when implemented properly.


Duh. The name.

What sounds better on the evening news…

“…and the network security was circumvented using a tiny computer marketed to hackers…”

“…the network security was eviscerated by rogue hackers using a device known as ‘The Pwnie Express’, for more discussion, let’s turn to our panel…”

I rest my case.


Unfortunately, wired is a mixed blessing:

The developers of wireless peripherals have done a shamefully poor job in securing them(in the really cheap seats, you can’t always be assured that multiple units from the same vendor won’t start scribbling over one another, I ran into this one personally); but consumer wired standards are developed and implemented with effectively zero consideration for Tempest attacks(aside from the bare minimum that FCC compliance forces them to do, or at least pretend to do when authorities are watching).

Given the state of the market, I suspect that wireless is worse, since it’s explicitly designed to be easy and cheap to receive, and security is a pitiful afterthought; but wired gives zero thought to security, and every wire with a moderately high speed digital signal is an antenna just lacking formal recognition. Best case, ‘wireless’ at least causes people to think about security, wile ‘wired’ just makes them think “Oh, intrinsicially secure unless somebody gets a vampire tap or an MiTM there!”, which isn’t actually true.

Give me the future where my Model M has to be securely keyfilled and initiate an encrypted channel after mutual asymmetric key challenge/response! Also, get those damn kids off my lawn.

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Probably -5 years, at least, if you are one of the cool kids who gets to shop out of the NSA TAO catalog…

I don’t even have WiFi in my house:all of the computers in my house are hardwired just 'cuz I’m a little paranoid.
And I don’t do any commerce or visit sites that need passwords when I’m using my laptop away from home. :unlock:


That would make sense. Because for the difference cost you could get a small 3d printer or a cheap laser cutter to make a posh case, so the case alone couldn’t be The Difference too.

The form factor is also somewhat unsuitable for covert infiltration. Bare boards, small, in a set connected with short cables that allow flexibility in arrangement to facilitate easier concealment in existing enclosures (e.g. a power strip, a bigger power supply, a stereo, any object that does not stand out in the target environment and if possible is power-connected), would make more sense for actual field deployment.

The advent of cheap, affordable thermal imagers (FLIR One, for example) will make discovery of such toys easier. When active, they heat up even if slightly, and shine in the 8-12 micrometer band.

We are so used to economies of scale today. Even really smart people forget that not everything has R&D costs spread over millions of units.

Good comment. However this can be addressed mostly by replacing the cable with a high-quality shielded one, or with a length of optical fiber. The more painful problem here is the large antenna array known as the keyboard scanning matrix. Shielding that out will be a pain. (Though, for the keyboards with matrix made from three layers of foil (spacer between silkscreened silver-ink matrix), you could sandwich the foil stack with aluminium or copper foil. But these are crap touch-wise.)

Edit: What we need is a suite of cheap TEMPEST testing tools. We can take advantage of having full control of the target, so we can compensate for low sensitivity of the receivers with injecting known signals and making the wires inside intentionally noisy and sweep through the frequencies in a way synced with the receiver (which is tuned to the fundamental or a harmonic of the test frequency sweep). Use a way-worse-than-worst-case signal to test the shielding.

Depends on how much R&D went into this one. Looks to me, and the cellphone too, like pretty much a bog-standard Kali Linux or other pentesting distro on a stock hardware. I may be wrong, though, so I am asking if I am.

That’s far outside my expertise, but I have worked in places where these things are concerns (or at least, I assume that was the motivation requiring 1 m separation between certain types of data cables and allowing only right angle cable crossings). Obviously we used only wired keyboards, but they were only regular off the shelf keyboards. Are tempest attacks on modern hardware a realistic concern?

That said, there were other security measures in place.

I’ve not had to consider the matter in detail; but people who have tried say that it is doable. (Plus fingerprinting of individual target keyboards, and nontrivial range…)

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