Microsoft keyboards' secret radio codes deciphered

ms_desktop_elite.jpgSome fellas over at Dreamlab took it upon themselves to apply a packet sniffer to one of Microsoft’s RF-based wireless keyboards, the Wireless Optical Desktop 1000 and 2000. They found that unlike bluetooth devices, which have pretty strong encryption, the only thing they ran into with the RF keyboard was “a simple XOR mechanism with a single byte of random data” – and if that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s not. It means there are only 256 possible key values, which could be all be tested in a couple seconds even by a 386. I doubt your life is so exciting that you have people running keyloggers on the 27MHz frequency around your house, just to catch your GMail password, but if you’re interested in security it’s probably a good idea to get yourself a nice Bluetooth set. Either that, or relocate your office to a Faraday cage.

Microsoft Wireless Keyboards Crypto Cracked [The Register, via Dreamlab (pdf)]