If noisy mechanical keyboards are the curse of your life at home or in the office, then you may have just found the perfect excuse to stop your colleagues or a loved one from breaking those keys so hard – it turns out that hackers can say almost exactly what you write just by listening to how you write.
Keytap3 is software developed by Georgi Gerganov, which can detect which keys are pressed simply by listening at close range with a semi-decent microphone, as Gerganov demonstrates this with the built-in microphone of a mobile phone in an “acoustic eavesdropping” test on their channel in YouTube.
This is not the first version Gerganov has developed, although it is the most intuitive, as he has previously worked on projects that require the user to enter a series of predefined words and phrases to “train” the software to Gerganov to decipher which keys are used. selected.
Previous versions also required the position of the microphone used to record the text to remain unchanged between the test and the actual launch of the software, although these restrictions do not exist with Keytap3, which, as the name suggests, is the third version of the project.
Gerganov explains that he “works by grouping the open keystrokes based on their sound similarity and then uses statistical information about the frequency of the letter n-grams in the supposed language of the text (eg English)”.
We tested it with the help of Razer Huntsman v2 Analog, which uses Razer’s own analog switches, which gave quite mixed results, so it’s fair to say that this is still not 100% accurate. Yet most of what Keytap3 discovered from our writing was actually what we wrote, which means it can find important data such as passwords and sensitive information in personal emails. Terrible things.
You can try this yourself at Website Keytap3 by following the instructions below provided by Gerganov to better optimize the experience.
- Be in a quiet room
- Open this page on your phone and paste it the next to the keyboard that interests you
- Alternatively, open the page on your computer and place the microphone next to the keyboard
- Note that the keyboard it shouldn’t even be included during this test
- Press In him button below and allow microphone access to the web page
- Enter some English text on the keyboard using lowercase and space only
- Try not to write faster than 250 CPM
Fortunately, this only works with mechanical keyboards and noisy ones, as the sound must be loud enough for the microphone to pick it up. If you’re particularly concerned, then you can switch the current key switches to something a little quieter like Cherry MX Silent keys. Even if the risk of hackers eavesdropping on your conversations is low, it is said that colleagues may be grateful that you gave them a break.
Analysis: This is not a real concern … yet
If this has upset you, then I have both good and bad news for you. The good news is that while this is quite scary, it is unlikely that hackers will be able to infiltrate your privacy and place a microphone close enough to your keyboard without you noticing.
The bad news is that there are many other ways your keyboard can share your personal information. There are keys for capturing keystrokes that can be plugged into a USB keyboard cable, and wireless keyboards can be used using hardware such as KeySweeper, a device that can record 2.4 GHz keyboards when placed in the same room.
There are even sophisticated systems that use lasers to detect vibrations or fluctuations in power lines to record what is written on a nearby keyboard.
However, if you are a fan of mechanical keyboards, do not let this deter you, especially if you use one at home and not in a public office environment. It is unlikely that you will take extreme measures in your own home or nearby everything comes with a security risk these days. Sometimes it’s just better to enjoy the disgusting knock than to worry at night that hackers will listen to your Facebook messages to your mother.