Sniffing keystrokes via laser, power lines

keystroke

Researchers from Inverse Path showed a couple interesting techniques for sniffing keystrokes at CanSecWest. For their first experiments they used a laser pointed at the shiny back of a laptop. The keystrokes would cause the laptop to vibrate which they could detect just like they would with any laser listening device. They’ve done it successfully from anywhere between 50 to 100 feet away. They used techniques similar to those in speech recognition to determine what sentences were being typed.

In a different attack, they sniffed characters from a PS/2 keyboard by monitoring the ground line in an outlet 50 feet away. They haven’t yet been able to collect more than just single strokes, but expect to get full words and sentences soon. This leakage via power line is discussed in the 1972 Tempest document we posted about earlier. The team said it wasn’t possible with USB or laptop keyboards.

[Thanks Jeramy]

Airsoft hacking

[Barrett] sent in this hack he did to an airsoft pistol. He was using “tracer rounds” or glowing airsoft pellets and found that there was no commercially available way of charging them up with uv light before they are shot. He cracked open his pistol, removed the safety mechanism, and placed a UV led in it’s place. Now, when he turns it on, it charges up the pellets so they’re nice and bright. If he’s playing airsoft at night, won’t that bright purple light give away his position? yeah, we know he was probably just using that pistol to show the mod off.

Making a rail gun

rail

[Rp181] has documented his entire rail gun build. He takes us through collecting the materials and assembling the system. It required 18 400V 3900uf capacitors to get the 5600 joules he wanted. It looks pretty impressive, though a video of it wreaking havoc on something might have been nice. We’ve seen rail guns before, from tiny ones for a robosapien to larger projects very similar to this one. In his instructable, he touts this as a “green” system. The capacitors are aluminum and no gun powder is required to move the projectile. Anyone want to do the math to figure out if it really is any better? Maybe if he’s collecting his energy via a giant solar panel.

[via instructables]