Researchers devise methods to sniff keystrokes by detecting shifts in magnetic field

Two doctoral students have produced what is probably the most fascinating hack (or whatever you want to call it) of the year. Using custom equipment and software, Messrs Martin Vuagnoux and Sylvain Pasini of the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne are able to detect shifts in the magnetic field surrounding keyboards. By measuring and interpreting these shifts, the students are able to figure out what has been typed. There’s four such “attacks,” once of which can work from as far as 20 meters (65 feet).

While we’ll no doubt have to put up with ignorant “keyboard sniffers on the loose!” stories on your CNNs and whatnot, it’s important to understand what exactly this is. That is, research. These aren’t script kiddies looking to wreak havoc at a Starbucks or whatever, but scholars trying to figure out how things work.

via BBC News