Open Source Keykeriki Captures Wireless Keyboard Traffic

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Another interesting attack, rather than going after the PC/Server this one goes after the data sent by wireless devices such as the wireless keyboards sold by Microsoft. The neat thing is by using a replay attack you could also send rogue inputs to the device.

But then it serves Microsoft right for using XOR encryption for the data-steams, which can very easily be broken using frequency analysis.

Security researchers on Friday unveiled an open-source device that captures the traffic of a wide variety of wireless devices, including keyboards, medical devices, and remote controls.

Keykeriki version 2 captures the entire data stream sent between wireless devices using a popular series of chips made by Norway-based Nordic Semiconductor. That includes the device addresses and the raw payload being sent between them. The open-source package was developed by researchers of Switzerland-based Dreamlab Technologies and includes complete software, firmware, and schematics for building the $100 sniffer.

Keykeriki not only allows researchers or attackers to capture the entire layer 2 frames, it also allows them to send their own unauthorized payloads. That means devices that don’t encrypt communications – or don’t encrypt them properly – can be forced to cough up sensitive communications or be forced to execute rogue commands.

It’ll be interesting to see what other kinds of devices they can successfully use this data capture technique on. Keyboards are one thing, and I’d imagine the transmission range of a wireless keyboard is fairly limited so you or the sniffing device would have to be physically near to the target.

At least Logitech seem to have stepped up the security a bit by using AES-128 for the transmission on their wireless keyboards, but the researchers say they still may be able to crack it due to the way the secret keys are exchanged.

Again most likely not an algorithm problem but an issue with the implementation.

At the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Dreamlab Senior Security Expert Thorsten Schroder demonstrated how Keykeriki could be used to attack wireless keyboards sold by Microsoft. The exploit worked because communications in the devices are protected by a weak form of encryption known as xor, which is trivial to break. As a result, he was able to intercept keyboard strokes as they were typed and to remotely send input that executed commands on the attached computer.

“Microsoft made it easy for us because they used their own proprietary crypto,” Schroder said. “Xor is not a very proper way to secure data.”

Even when devices employ strong cryptography, Schroder said Keykeriki may still be able to remotely send unauthorized commands using a technique known as a replay attack, in which commands sent previously are recorded and then sent again.

News time is always fun during conference season due to the fact all these interesting and new attacks and vectors are released for public consumption – generally along with code and examples.

If they can use the same techniques to own more interesting devices with more sensitive data, things could certainly get a little more heated.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Hardware Hacking, Privacy

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One Response to Open Source Keykeriki Captures Wireless Keyboard Traffic

  1. Sentinel April 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    With regards to Logitech usage of AES 128. If you send a keystroke to the pc that is 8 bits in size encrypted with a 128 bit block size, aren’t you padding 120 bits? Seems to me that would be trivial to decrypt by analyzing a sequence of keystrokes given the known value of padding.

    Am I missing something?