Now you should not be in wrong belief that only keyloggers can record your keystrokes on your computer. Other than keylogger, Wi-Fi signals could also be use to monitor your keystrokes hit via keyboard. Monitoring your keystrokes from any medium could lead to a great loss of personal and important information like username & passwords, credit card information and much more. Don’t you believe? Keep reading.

According to researchers from Michigan State University and the Nanjing University in China it is possible for anyone to detect and recognize the keystrokes you hit on your computer connected over the Wi-Fi. They have developed the keystroke recognition system which is named as WiKey for monitoring the keystrokes hit by the computer user connected over Wi-Fi using plain router.


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Here, to perform this attack, WiKey has used Off-The-Shelf devices. Researchers have implemented the experiment using TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Wi-Fi router and a Lenovo X200 laptop. Everything works on the Wi-Fi signals transmit between computer and router, so Wi-Fi signals are needed to be captured. To collect the signal variation in Wi-Fi they have used router’s MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) functionalities. MIMO provides the multiple version of Wi-Fi signal on same channel. “These changes are captured in the CSI values for all sub-carriers between every TX-RX antenna pair and can then be used to recognize keystrokes.” This is how the variations are captured.

Note:  This only works when there is less or minimal movement in the room.

However, the second way to monitor the keystrokes is when user is typing, by standing nearby Wi-Fi router, WiKey detect the signal variation due to movements of the fingers, hands and keys of the user as shown in the image below.


Hackers can Sniff your Keystrokes via Wi-Fi Signals

Image From Research Paper


While evaluating Wikey for Real World, “WiKey achieves an average keystroke recognition accuracy of 77.43% for typed sentences when 30 training samples per key were used. The experimental results show that WiKey achieves more than 97.5% detection rate for detecting the keystroke and 96.4% recognition accuracy for classifying single keys. In real-world experiments, WiKey can recognize keystrokes in a continuously typed sentence with an accuracy of 93.5%.” says researchers

You can read full research paper available for download in pdf. This is how hackers can sniff your important information via Wi-Fi by sniffing your keystrokes. If you learned something new than do share with others. Keep sharing. Stay tunes to Tech Tunes.


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