Here are two rules you must always keep in mind regarding your own personal computer or information-based security: One, anything with an Internet connection can be hacked. Two, this means anything wireless is also hackable.
Computers, tablets, smartphones and anything connected to those: hackable, every one. Even worse, many people never think about or even notice the hackability of their everyday devices (possibly for the same reason fish don't notice water).
Today, for example, Bryan Cockfield at that Hackaday blog reported the discovery of how incredibly easy it is to hack certain types of Microsoft wireless keyboard with a “keystroke sniffer” (or keylogger) that looks like an ordinary AC adapter:
The scary thing here isn’t so much that this device exists, but that encryption for Microsoft keyboards was less than stellar and provides little more than a false sense of security. This also serves as a wake-up call that the things we don’t even give a passing glance at might be exactly where a less-honorable person might look to exploit whatever information they can get their hands on.
Indeed. If you want other examples of this, it isn't hard to find them. Last April, a still-unknown hacker took remote control of the baby monitor in an Ohio family's home — which was discovered only after he used the monitor to yell obscenities at the infant girl one night, and her parents overheard.
That story of a hacked baby monitor – and others like it – have made national headlines in America since at least 2013: anything from “smart” cars and thermostats to home security systems, baby monitors and webcams can all be hacked and used against their owners.
Despite this, countless consumers who buy such devices are careless enough to not even bother changing the default passwords they're set with. Last Halloween, Vice's tech blog warned readers about an unnamed voyeurism website dedicated to streaming cameras footage from unprotected personal IP [Internet protocol] cameras typically found on baby monitors and home-security systems.
Again: that voyeurism website wasn't produced by criminal masterminds who cunningly worked around strict security procedures; it streamed footage from cameras whose owners never bothered taking the elementary step of putting a password on a password-protected device.
Even battery chargers
Even something as innocuous as a battery charger can be hacked to steal data from whichever devices it plugs into. Last September, when Russia hosted the G20 Summit Council in St. Petersburg, summit attendees each received “gift bags” which allegedly contained some infected devices, including USB data sticks equipped with spyware, and mobile phone chargers which could secretly monitor all communications on that phone. (The Russian government denied all such allegations.)
And of course, the number of hackable devices in your life will only increase as technology marches on. Last week, vendors at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas unveiled everything from hackable laundry machines to hackable coffee makers to hackable robot vacuum cleaners that can suck up dirt while hackers take control of their cameras to spy on you in your house.
Anything you can wirelessly control, a hacker can control too-- including your computer keyboard.