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  • December 06, 2016, 03:49:41 PM
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Author Topic: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away  (Read 2625 times)

wraith808

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Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« on: March 28, 2016, 03:46:00 PM »
http://www.reuters.c...-mouse-idUSKCN0WP21I
Wireless mice (but not bluetooth) are hackable up to 180 meters away from the home device.

What can hacking a mouse do?  (The first question that came to mind)

From the article:

Quote
Wireless mice from companies like HP, Lenovo, Amazon and Dell use unencrypted signals to communicate with computers.

"They haven't encrypted the mouse traffic, that makes it possible for the attacker to send unencrypted traffic to the dongle pretending to be a keyboard and have it result as keystrokes on your computer. This would be the same as if the attacker was sitting at your computer typing on the computer," said Newlin, a security researcher at Bastille. 

Alarming?  Alarmist?

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 05:49:07 PM »
I never used a wireless mouse/keyboard.  Don't they use IR?  If it is infrared then wouldn't the source(the hacker) have to be line of sight into the computer room?

Funny I haven't heard this mentioned before.  Unless it is the cause of those "I didn't change anything.  All of a sudden I cannot index my files" or whatever?

rgdot

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 06:27:11 PM »
Most are radio frequency these days, up to 2.4GHz.

mwb1100

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 06:44:44 PM »
Does any of this apply to wireless keyboards?

Given the state of the industry, I'd guess that there's a decent chance that many (non-bluetooth) wireless keyboards have similar design to these mice and are also unencrypted.  If that's the case then your passwords are probably readily readable if you use one of them.

*That* would be cause for some alarm.


hamradio

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 09:30:19 PM »
Does any of this apply to wireless keyboards?

Given the state of the industry, I'd guess that there's a decent chance that many (non-bluetooth) wireless keyboards have similar design to these mice and are also unencrypted.  If that's the case then your passwords are probably readily readable if you use one of them.

*That* would be cause for some alarm.


According to a certain 2009 pdf by logitech: Advanced_24_Unifying_FINAL070709.pdf

Not sure how much still applies today or if it has advanced further...

Part of Section 4
Quote
Computer keyboards process very private or sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, or personal messages. Since the range of an Advanced 2.4 GHz device may reach several tens of meters in an open environment, it is critical to take adequate measures to prevent eavesdropping. Advanced 2.4 GHz applies state-of-the-art encryption to the keyboard reports. Since the displacements of a mouse would not give any useful information to a hacker, the mouse reports are not encrypted.

My ... So to all the ones who buy a cheaper wireless keyboard is it worth investing in a better keyboard instead of a cheaper alternative if you do not know if it encrypts the data...
(I am not affiliated with any keyboard/mice company just my observation.)
Carroll - HamRadioUSA.net
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 09:44:42 PM by hamradio, Reason: Added my 2 cents... »

wraith808

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 09:48:53 PM »
^ Hmm, so doesn't that hold up to what the article is saying?  That the mouse signals are not encrypted?  And now they can fool the mouse dongle into thinking it's the keyboard?

mwb1100

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 11:52:25 PM »
And now they can fool the mouse dongle into thinking it's the keyboard?

I don't know the details, but USB keyboards and mice are devices that both fall under the USB HID (Human Interface Device) class: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_human_interface_device_classw

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of common capability available across devices in the HID class.

And as far as this goes:

Quote
Since the displacements of a mouse would not give any useful information to a hacker, the mouse reports are not encrypted.

It wouldn't shock me too much if someone eventually finds that such mouse information can be used to figure out something they shouldn't be able to.   It seems unlikely, but people have been surprised before by leaks of information from unusual areas (like timing or power usage). One possible situation where capturing mouse information might be an attractive target that comes to mind is that some programs use a virtual on-screen keyboard specifically to foil keyloggers. Not a common scenario, but if you're one of those people, don't use a wireless mouse...

Deozaan

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 11:57:30 PM »
It wouldn't shock me too much if someone eventually finds that such mouse information can be used to figure out something they shouldn't be able to.   It seems unlikely, but people have been surprised before by leaks of information from unusual areas (like timing or power usage). One possible situation where capturing mouse information might be an attractive target that comes to mind is that some programs use a virtual on-screen keyboard specifically to foil keyloggers. Not a common scenario, but if you're one of those people, don't use a wireless mouse...

But even that might not be very useful. As far as I understand, mice don't give precise information as far as movement/position. It's all relative. Something like +5 pixels in the X coordinate, -6 pixels in the Y coordinate. Click here, release there. Etc.

Even if you had an on-screen keyboard, the hackers might not know that, or how big it is, or where on the screen it's located. They'd probably have to know exactly what you're doing (i.e., have physical or at least visual access to your system) to get useful information from the movement and clicks of your mouse. In which case you probably already have other security problems to be worried about.

All that said, I am no security expert. There very well may be something I'm not considering.


Stoic Joker

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 06:31:45 AM »
Does any of this apply to wireless keyboards?

According to the article, once you get a toe in the door...a foot follows..

Quote from: The Article
A hacker uses an antenna, a wireless chip called a dongle, both available for the less $20 (USD), and a simple line of code to trick the wireless chip connected to the target computer into accepting it as a mouse.

"So the attacker can send data to the dongle, pretend it's a mouse but say 'actually I am a keyboard and please type these letters'," added Newlin. 
 
"If we sent unencrypted keyboard strokes as if we were a mouse it started typing on the computer, typing at a 1000 words per minute," said Chris Rouland, the CTO and Founder of Bastille. 

At a thousand words a minute, the hacker can take over the computer or gain access to a network within seconds. 

So their must be a good bit of flex in the HID APIs

ayryq

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 07:00:55 AM »
According to a certain 2009 pdf by logitech: Advanced_24_Unifying_FINAL070709.pdf

Not sure how much still applies today or if it has advanced further...

The article mentions some "bargain" brands of mice. Mouses. I have one of those Logitech Unifying receivers and since it supports multiple devices with one receiver, it has a pairing process that must be used. I've never had any cross-talk between different Logitech devices on different PCs in my house. My guess is the hack requires a more simplistic device.

And a good antenna - on my old Logitech MX Revolution I'd love if i could get 1m range!

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 07:14:02 AM »
What kind of battery is generally used in these wireless keyboards/mice?  I am just curious.  I use USB keyboards and mice just because they draw power directly from the port.  No heavy battery to add to the weight of my suitcase.  If it is a "coin" size battery then I guess the weight is negligible.  But I may have lucked into doing the right thing via being misinformed.  :)

ayryq

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 07:40:06 AM »
I have several that are 2xAA. I've never found them too heavy in use, but I don't generally travel with them. You know, many "gaming" mice come with weights in different sizes to make the mouse heavier, as some gamers prefer.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 08:11:00 AM »
What kind of battery is generally used in these wireless keyboards/mice?  I am just curious.  I use USB keyboards and mice just because they draw power directly from the port.  No heavy battery to add to the weight of my suitcase.  If it is a "coin" size battery then I guess the weight is negligible.  But I may have lucked into doing the right thing via being misinformed.  :)

I hate having to worry about batteries - Wired = powered = trouble free  :Thmbsup:


40hz

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 08:23:59 AM »

According to the article, once you get a toe in the door...a foot follows..


More like the possibility of a foot following it in, but yeah...once you've found an opening, the possibilities multiply significantly. Install a keylogger and a zombie script to dump a log file back to a server somewhere; slip in some ransomware or a bot...the possibilities are limited only by your skill set and your imagination. Or (more often) those of the people you have working for you.

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2016, 08:51:12 AM »
What kind of battery is generally used in these wireless keyboards/mice?  I am just curious.  I use USB keyboards and mice just because they draw power directly from the port.  No heavy battery to add to the weight of my suitcase.  If it is a "coin" size battery then I guess the weight is negligible.  But I may have lucked into doing the right thing via being misinformed.  :)

I hate having to worry about batteries - Wired = powered = trouble free  :Thmbsup:



At least on the Logitech USB wireless I found it uses 1 AA battery.  Not super heavy but still.. I'd rather have no battery.  ;)

Besides.  Wrapping up the USB cable and sticking the mouse in a slider baggy gives me something to do.  :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2016, 08:55:18 AM »
Next thing you know someone will spy on Tom Cruise in Minority Report and memorize how he waves his arms to access Top Secret Info(tm) on the holographic computer.  Two left arm swipes down, then one right arm swipe to the left then three Seig Heils and your password is accepted.

Shades

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2016, 11:57:13 AM »
Example:
If the hacker could find out at any given moment which page you have opened in a browser...all he/she needs to do is load up that page and literally retrace your steps with the data retrieved from your unencrypted mouse movements. That would give the hacker a very good idea of what you were doing and how to proceed on 'pawn'-ing your account(s).

Time is always a factor. It looks to me like people expect immediate breaches of their security, because a hacker swoops in, breaks security and robs you blind of information and/or money. But in my (arguably rotten) mind the most successful hacker is the one who has a bit of patience and gets to "know" the target by studying any type of data he/she can get from his/her target. That mouse data would sure help in case social engineering isn't an option.

I'm with Stoic Joker: no wireless <insert whatever such a device here> for me, and batteries are a headache. Not sure why people are so hung up about wireless this or that. The "convenience" factor doesn't outweigh the (possible) security breaches you subject yourself and/or your family to. Then again, I have been accused of being old-fashioned before here on this forum...  ;D

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2016, 04:24:11 PM »
Not sure why people are so hung up about wireless this or that. The "convenience" factor
...

It creeps me out when I see somebody sit back in a swivel chair 10 feet from their desk with a keyboard on their lap to do their computing.  How do they do it?  I took Typing 101 in high school.  If I didn't assume the correct position at the desk I am sure my old typing teacher would come out of retirement just to swat me with her handbag and yell at me!

Old fashioned?  I still haven't used a smart phone or Blackberry.  The only device I own with a touch screen is an MP3 player.  :)


wraith808

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2016, 05:33:50 PM »
Not sure why people are so hung up about wireless this or that.

Helps massively when travelling and in a conveyance.  No one tool for every job and all.

Deozaan

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2016, 06:55:10 PM »
Example:
If the hacker could find out at any given moment which page you have opened in a browser...all he/she needs to do is load up that page and literally retrace your steps with the data retrieved from your unencrypted mouse movements. That would give the hacker a very good idea of what you were doing and how to proceed on 'pawn'-ing your account(s).

Not quite. Again, there are subtle differences that could affect the results. What if the browser was in a tiny window, so the content didn't all fit on the screen at once? What if you were viewing your browser fullscreen on a 4K (or 8K!) monitor? What if you had vision troubles so you had the text at 200% font size?

There are lots of little reasons like this why having the mouse data would be practically worthless.

That said, I agree that it would be better for the hacker to not have the mouse data in the first place! But again, if a hacker can know what website you have opened at any given moment, you probably have other security problems to be worried about.


app103

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2016, 08:21:37 PM »
But again, if a hacker can know what website you have opened at any given moment, you probably have other security problems to be worried about.

How many public places offer free wifi and how many people use it? A hacker could be close enough to visually spy and know what page you are on, and close enough to take control, and you'd be more likely to want to use one of those cheap compact mini wireless mice than lugging a big wired one around with you.


Time is always a factor. It looks to me like people expect immediate breaches of their security, because a hacker swoops in, breaks security and robs you blind of information and/or money. But in my (arguably rotten) mind the most successful hacker is the one who has a bit of patience and gets to "know" the target by studying any type of data he/she can get from his/her target. That mouse data would sure help in case social engineering isn't an option.

You mean like studying the guy who uses Starbucks as his office, taking advantage of their free wifi and easy access to coffee, and works from there, predictably, every single day? He sits at the same table each day, sets up his laptop, wireless mouse, etc. and stays there for about 4-6 hours, Monday through Friday.

If you know this and can show up before he does, you can choose a table close enough, that gives you a fairly clear view of his screen. You can pretend to be someone just like him, working from the same coffee shop every day, just like him, strike up a conversation, get to know him, all while spying on him as he works.

Might not be worth the trouble in some rinky dink town to try to target an individual like that, but in a large urban area like NYC, Seattle, or San Francisco, it could be.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2016, 08:14:27 AM »
Two left arm swipes down, then one right arm swipe to the left then three Seig Heils and your password is accepted.

Honestly, I've found the gesture based passwords to be so insanely easy to (shoulder surf at virtually any angle) hack that there is no way in hell I'd ever use one.

Watch the wrist, look at the picture ...(and at least 80% of the time)... Duh!

MilesAhead

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2016, 12:09:20 PM »
Two left arm swipes down, then one right arm swipe to the left then three Seig Heils and your password is accepted.

Honestly, I've found the gesture based passwords to be so insanely easy to (shoulder surf at virtually any angle) hack that there is no way in hell I'd ever use one.

Watch the wrist, look at the picture ...(and at least 80% of the time)... Duh!

I was being facetious.  Now that you mention it though I do remember seeing one.  I must have dismissed the memory as too ridiculous to take seriously.  It is disconcerting that insane stuff I think up is actually in use.  It shows there are people crazier than I am out there doing who knows what?  Heh heh

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mwb1100

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Re: Wireless mice are hackable up to a city block away
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2016, 12:47:22 PM »
I hope not to sidetrack the thread, but gesture-based passwords reminds me of baseball, and the 2016 MLB season is opening this weekend (official Opening Day is tomorrow, but several teams have already had their first games).

Yes!  Go M's!.