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Hackers Can Steal Your Passwords, Emails, And Texts By Listening As You Type On Your Smartphone

June 10, 2019 / Joseph Steinberg

Hackers may be able to read whatever you type on a smartphone – by listening in via the device’s microphone. When humans tap on a touchscreen, they generate sound waves that are often strong enough to be picked up by the same device’s nearby microphone/s. Because each particular character on a device’s virtual keyboard appears consistently in the same place whenever the keyboard is displayed, and because each character appears in a different location than other characters, the sound waves that users generate when they hit any particular character travel different distances through the phone and the air in order to reach the microphone/s than do the waves of other characters. As a result, a device’s microphone/s may consistently hear a slightly different sound for each particular character that a user taps. As a result of such a physics-induced phenomenon, researchers at the UK’s University of Cambridge and Sweden’s Linköping University wer...