BrokenStrokes: On the (in)security of wireless keyboards

Gabriele Oligeri, Savio Sciancalepore, Simone Raponi, Roberto Di Pietro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Wireless devices resorting to event-triggered communications have been proved to suffer critical privacy issues, due to the intrinsic leakage associated with radio-frequency (RF) emissions. In this paper, we move the attack frontier forward by proposing BrokenStrokes: an inexpensive, easy to implement, efficient, and effective attack able to detect the typing of a pre-defined keyword by only eavesdropping the communication channel used by the wireless keyboard. BrokenStrokes proves itself to be a particularly dreadful attack: it achieves its goal when the eavesdropping antenna is up to 15 meters from the target keyboard, regardless of the encryption scheme, the communication protocol, the presence of radio noise, and the presence of physical obstacles. While we detail the attack in three current scenarios and discuss its striking performance-its success probability exceeds 90%6 in normal operating conditions-, we also provide some suggestions on how to mitigate it. The data utilized in this paper have been released as open-source to allow practitioners, industries, and academia to verify our claims and use them as a basis for further developments.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWiSec 2020 - Proceedings of the 13th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450380065
StatePublished - Jul 8 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'BrokenStrokes: On the (in)security of wireless keyboards'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this