A Little Frightening

A Little Frightening



Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have

demonstrated that an audio recording of someone typing on a computer

keyboard can reveal with surprising accuracy exactly what they have

typed. Using commercially available recording equipment, the

researchers captured audio of typing and analyzed the sounds using an

algorithm they developed. Because keys make different sounds, the

system is able to make educated guesses about what key was pressed in

what order. The application then applies some linguistic logic,

including spelling and grammar checks, to refine the results. After

three rounds of revisions, the application was able to identify 96

percent of the individual characters typed and 88 percent of the words.

The application was effective even with background noise, such as music

or cell phones ringing. Doug Tsar, UC Berkeley professor of computer

science and information management and a principal investigator of the

study, said the project should raise concerns about the security risks

of such a technology. “If we were able to figure this out,” he said,

“it’s likely that people with less honorable intentions can–or

have–as well.”

ZDNet, 14 September 2005



What makes this more worrysome is I knew a guy in high school who wanted to develop the tallent to do this without the intervention of a computer. I’m pretty Sas, and possibly Shanti know who I’m talking about. My arch nemisis when it came to IT.

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