Cybersecurity Firm Warns Against Using Wireless Keyboards, Mice

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Information typed on a wireless keyboard can easily be intercepted or snooped on, a cybersecurity research firm has warned.

San Francisco-based Bastille said these keyboards transmit what is being typed without any encryption, making the "text very clear" and possible for hackers to access from a distance of up to 76m (250ft) away.

The firm added that earlier in 2016, wireless mice were also insecure to use as their research showed attackers can spoof poorly protected signals, letting them use PCs as if they were sitting in front of them.

Some of the companies that were found to be producing keyborads prone to hacking include Anker,
Eagle Tec, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Insignia, Kensington Radio Shack and Toshiba. But the firm added that "this list was not exhaustive as more brands are being tested."

The firm added that affected keyboards could not be updated and should be replaced, but shockingly,none of the above-stated firms had taken measures to warn users or rectify the issue in future products.

"We went into a bunch of big box stores and purchased wireless keyboards," said Ivan O'Sullivan, Bastille's chief research officer.

"We were shocked to find that two-thirds transmitted all of their data in clear text, no encryption.

"We did not expect to see this. We didn't think it would be in clear text. Hackers can intercept all the keystrokes from your keyboard up to 250 feet away," he said.

These affected keyboards used radio signals to transmit what the user was typing. By using a
cheap, USB-powered radio antenna, the research team was able to follow what was being typed.

Hackers could also control the keyboard, inserting their own keystrokes, a reason the firm recommended using a wired keyboard.

However, researcher Marc Newlin from the same firm gave a sigh of relief after he said that hackers may not yet be aware of the security flaw as no cases had been reported yet, but advised bigger offices to comply comply forthwith, since they can be a target.