Cyber experts claim they can read what you are typing

Posted on 11/10/2020 by with 0 comments

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The Tell-Tale Shoulder: Cyber experts claim they can read what you are typing during Zoom video calls just by analysing your upper arm movements

  • Researchers from the US wrote software than can analyse shoulder movements 
  • It translates tiny movements on video into the original directions in real space
  • From this, it can guess the words you were positioning your arms to type
  • This might include, for example, passwords entered or the content of emails 
  • The attack would work in any type of video call where your shoulders are visible 
  • Blurring the upper arm — or reducing call video fidelity — could block the attack

Hackers could potentially tell what you type while on a Zoom call — whether it be entering a password or messaging a co-worker — by analysing your shoulders.

Researchers from the US found that, from clips of upper arm movements, they could reconstruct the keys people had pressed with around 93 per cent accuracy.

Because the method works from footage alone, such an attack could be used on any intercepted video call — whether over Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or others.

The team suggested a number of ways to block the attack — including applying a blur or pixelation to shoulders, or reducing the fidelity of the transmitted video.

Until such measures are realised, however, the security minded might want to zoom their camera in on their face — or just switch to a voice-only call.


Hackers could potentially tell what you type while on a Zoom call — whether it be entering a password or messaging a co-worker — by analysing your shoulders, pictured

‘From a high-level perspective, this is a concern, which obviously has been overlooked for a while,’ paper author and computer scientist Murtuza Jadliwala of the University of Texas at San Antonio told Fast Company.

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