Hackers can now decipher passwords from typing

A new study has found that hackers now have the ability to decipher a person’s password simply through listening to them type.

Researchers at the Southern Methodist University in Texas discovered that hackers can crack codes through using the microphone on a smartphone, something which is so powerful that the hack can still be carried out in a busy place.

How it works

To examine the technique, investigators analyzed the different soundwaves of each key being hit. The acoustics were then decoded and processed.

An assistant professor at SMU who helped lead the study, Eric Larson, said, “Based on what we found, I think smartphone makers are going to have to go back to the drawing board and make sure they are enhancing the privacy with which people have access to these sensors in a smartphone,”

It’s believed that by studying the typing, email passwords and messages, as well as phone codes, will be able to be broken.

What’s more, is that victims would probably not even be aware that they are being hacked.

What’s the solution?

Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer, Biometrics & Security, Nuance Communications suggests that perhaps moving towards more highly evolved security is the key.

He says: “The fraudster of today is more sophisticated, more skilled and more determined than ever before. This, alongside the speed at which technology is progressing, often means that typed passwords alone are no longer an effective way to identify whether a person really is who they say they are.”

“Whilst facial and fingerprint biometrics add an extra layer of security, companies should always be looking towards voice biometrics to provide complete security. While behaviours can be mimicked, physical voice characteristics cannot, and this prevents impersonators from “tricking” the system.” The Chief Fraud Prevention Officer continued.

Evolving malware

Marchand also believes that there needs to be higher levels of protection when designing tech. He says, “The thought that hackers could work out a customer’s password by simply listening to them type is undoubtedly concerning for businesses and consumers alike. As malicious threats evolve, so too must the security solutions we put in place to mitigate them.”