The iPhone has made it to millions of homes around the world. It is one of the best smartphones money can buy. With all the apps available for it, iPhone has improved its users’ lives. But did you know that iPhone can spy on what you type on your computer? Computer scientists at Georgia Tech have shown that the accelerometers in many modern smartphones could be taken advantage of to decipher what you type into your personal computer.
For this to work, you will have to leave your smartphone close to your computer. As you type, your keyboard creates vibrations that accelerometers can pick up. This data can be easily interpreted with the right tool. The researchers at Georgia Tech use a technique that involves detecting pairs of keystrokes and determining the location of the keys pressed. The data gets matched against a dictionary for interpretation.
The accuracy of this technique has been as high as 80 percent. The process is not perfect but good enough for spying purposes. It does seem the more advanced your phone, the better chance there is it can be used to spy on what you type:
We first tried our experiments with an iPhone 3GS, and the results were difficult to read. But then we tried an iPhone 4, which has an added gyroscope to clean up the accelerometer noise, and the results were much better. We believe that most smartphones made in the past two years are sophisticated enough to launch this attack,
explained Patrick Traynor, assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science. Some have used smartphone microphones in the past to pick up vibrations. But this technique seems to be more practical. For someone to spy on you, you will have to let them install a spyware on your phone. As long as you are careful about what runs on your smartphone, you can be immune to this technique. The technique is not too easy to pull off which is encouraging.
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