Saturday, May 18, 2024

Thermanator Attack – Attackers can Steal Password and PINs Typed on Keyboards by Reading Thermal Residue

Thermanator attack based on the heat transfer that caused by the user while entering input data, such as typing a password on the keyboard.

We leave Thermal residue on various objects that include common input devices such as the keyboard, which we use to enter sensitive details.

Three researchers from the University of California published a paper describing their study on how the thermal residues collected from users who entered both weak and strong password can be recovered as late as 1 minute after entry.

If you are Hunt-and-peck typist then it is more dangerous, it is a method where the user searches for the key location in keyboard and pressing each key only with their index fingers.

Researchers conducted an experiment with “30 users entering 10 unique passwords (both weak and strong) on 4 popular commodity keyboards. Results show that entire sets of key-presses can be recovered by non-expert users.”

Attack Scenario – Thermanator attack

Thermanator attack is an insider attack, where an attacker needs to have a physical attack to the keyboard to collect thermal residues.

1. Victim enter’s a genuine password to log-in.
2. The victim may step away from the workplace.
3. An attacker using thermal imaging camera can harvest information from the keyboard.
4. By using the heatmap of the image, attackers can locate the keystrokes typed.

Thermanator attack

Researchers say Hunt-and-Peck Typists are highly vulnerable, they result in greater
heat transfer, due to longer contact duration with a larger contact area. For Touch typists, two factors confuse their thermal residues and make passwords harder to harvest.

Mitigation Against Thermanator attack

1. Users to swipe their hands along the keyboard after password entry.
2. On-screen keyboard.
3. Users could wear insulating gloves or rubber thimblettes over their fingers during password entry.

Researchers concluded that “Work described in this paper sheds some light on understanding the thermodynamic relationship between human fingers and external computer keyboards. In particular, it exposes the vulnerability of standard password-based systems to an adversarial collection of thermal emanations.”

More technical details can be found in the paper “Thermanator: Thermal Residue-Based Post Factum Attacks On Keyboard Password Entry” published by researchers.

Also Read

Secure Cloud Migration Guide – Technical and Business Considerations

Best Ways to Protect Data From Cyber Attack & Recover Your Deleted Data in Your Personal Computer

What is DNS Attack and How Does it Work?

Website

Latest articles

Norway Recommends Replacing SSLVPN/WebVPN to Stop Cyber Attacks

A very important message from the Norwegian National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says that...

New Linux Backdoor Attacking Linux Users Via Installation Packages

Linux is widely used in numerous servers, cloud infrastructure, and Internet of Things devices,...

ViperSoftX Malware Uses Deep Learning Model To Execute Commands

ViperSoftX malware, known for stealing cryptocurrency information, now leverages Tesseract, an open-source OCR engine,...

Santander Data Breach: Hackers Accessed Company Database

Santander has confirmed that there was a major data breach that affected its workers...

U.S. Govt Announces Rewards up to $5 Million for North Korean IT Workers

The U.S. government has offered a prize of up to $5 million for information...

Russian APT Hackers Attacking Critical Infrastructure

Russia leverages a mix of state-backed Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups and financially motivated...

Millions Of IoT Devices Vulnerable To Attacks Leads To Full Takeover

Researchers discovered four significant vulnerabilities in the ThroughTek Kalay Platform, which powers 100 million...
Guru baran
Guru baranhttps://gbhackers.com
Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

Free Webinar

Live API Attack Simulation

94% of organizations experience security problems in production APIs, and one in five suffers a data breach. As a result, cyber-attacks on APIs increased from 35% in 2022 to 46% in 2023, and this trend continues to rise.
Key takeaways include:

  • An exploit of OWASP API Top 10 vulnerability
  • A brute force ATO (Account Takeover) attack on API
  • A DDoS attack on an API
  • Positive security model automation to prevent API attacks

Related Articles