Inexhaustible is —as it turns out— the imagination of those who seek to find a way to access our personal information, but, unfortunately, they have the rapid development of technology as their ally, which provides them with the tools to achieve their goal.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow have presented yet another method that can be used by those who want to steal our personal data, a method literally taken out of a James Bond movie!
Apparently, when we type something, heat is generated in the typing device. The researchers developed an artificial intelligence system they called “ThermoSecure”. The researchers performed a demonstration in which a thermal camera —equipped with “ThermoSecure”— can capture images of a device where someone typed in a “password” and the images revealed the code!
So, someone with such a thermal camera can see the code that someone typed into an ATM machine in a bank, or —if he can— record the thermal image of a mobile phone when its owner presses his entry code and so —if he can— to get this device in his hands to be able to open it! The thermal camera can do the same “job” with a computer keyboard.
In the tests carried out, the thermal camera managed to recover “passwords” with a success rate of 86% within 20 seconds after typing the code and with a rate of 67% within 60 seconds after recording the code! So, if someone “innocently” passes by a device on which someone has just typed a “password” and manages to take an image with a thermal camera, they will probably get the “password”!
For the avoidance of doubt, the researchers state that they did not want to make it easy for hackers everywhere, but that it was rumored that thermal cameras have this eavesdropping capability and they wanted to find out if this could actually be true. Since thermal cameras —which are now very affordable for the average consumer— have been found to be able to eavesdrop on “passwords”, what we need to do is not leave our electronic devices in plain sight, when typing in “passwords” and not to immediately leave the ATM machines for some reason, after typing the code.
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