Hackers Hijack Mouse and Keyboards from 100m Away

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Feb 24, 2016 08:00 pm PST

Researchers have found several ways to exploit vulnerabilities in wireless Keyboards and Mice and can take control of them 100 meters away using the portable peripherals from at least seven big vendors including Logitech, Microsoft, and Amazon. Security expets from Tripwire and Rapid7 have the following comments on it.

[su_note note_color=”#ffffcc” text_color=”#00000″]Tim Erlin, Director of Security and Product Management at Tripwire :

“We’re often so focused on network-based attacks that we forget these peripheral devices provide input to our computers as well. That wireless keyboard is another potential vector for attack.

This type of attack is unlikely to be used for large scale compromise. It’s suitable for a targeted attack against an individual.

The more successful we are at detecting the more standard, network-based attacks, the more we push the attackers to alternative methods. It’s a positive to see researchers leading the way instead of criminals.”[/su_note]

[su_note note_color=”#ffffcc” text_color=”#00000″]Tod Beardsley, Security Research Manager at Rapid7:

​”The research conducted and released by Bastille focuses on one central design flaw in the way that commodity PC peripherals are designed: the wireless mouse implementation does not encrypt communication between the peripheral and the PC. The ramifications of this oversight are explored and exploited by the researchers, and they report deeply troubling results. The researchers report an effective range of their attack of about 100 meters, giving attackers a radius of more than a city block in which to effectively compromise end users.

It’s concerning that the mouse interface can be trivially hijacked by attackers and mischief makers, but the findings here also indicate that some brands enable back-dooring the mouse system to send keystrokes, which is even more troubling. Even in the case where the keyboard controls are sufficiently protected, it is usually fairly easy to pop up an on-screen keyboard. At that point, attackers can type whatever they like on compromised computers.

The best advice I can give today is to ensure that your wireless keyboard and mouse communicates via Bluetooth, rather than the described (and more common) 2.4GHZ radio hardware. Bluetooth, the older infrared standard, and plain old wired mice are not affected. Notably, Apple’s standard peripherals use Bluetooth, which today features strong encryption and authentication protocols, so the scope of the vulnerability is limited to common PC laptops and desktops running Windows or Linux.”[/su_note]

[su_box title=”About Tripwire” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]Tripwire logoTripwire is a leading provider of advanced threat, security and compliance solutions that enable enterprises, service providers and government agencies to confidently detect, prevent and respond to cybersecurity threats. Tripwire solutions are based on high-fidelity asset visibility and deep endpoint intelligence combined with business-context and enable security automation through enterprise integration. Tripwire’s portfolio of enterprise-class security solutions includes configuration and policy management, file integrity monitoring, vulnerability management and log intelligence.[/su_box]

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