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Could Hackers Listen Into My Office?
Dalai Lama hacked

 11:59 am on Mar 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just in: "An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say."

"software also gave hackers the ability to use audio and video recording devices to monitor the rooms the computers were in"


I know that most types of speakers can also be utilized as very primitive microphones. So could my speakers be used by a hacker to listen into my computer room?



 2:26 pm on Mar 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I doubt that could happen. It is unlikely that your sound card's hardware can handle an input from the speaker socket.

What is very possible is that your microphone or camera could be used remotely. If you want to be really sure unplug them from the computer when they are not in use.

Given that most laptops have a built-in microphone, and a good many a camera. You can only secure those at the software level. Manufacturers should install physical off switches as they do for wireless.


 4:42 am on Apr 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

It would probably be easier to get a lip reader to analyze video, unless you farting or something like that.


 6:36 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It would probably be easier to get a lip reader to analyze video, unless you farting or something like that.

I was going to say something, but won't say it. :)

<tinfoil hat>Given that most computer chipsets have a DSP, who's to know if the audio card can't be reprogrammed remotely?</tinfoil hat>

A few of the newspaper posts about this story have been pulled from their sites and can only be seen via their Google cache.


 9:49 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Speakers cannot be used as microphones unless connected as microphones. An amplifier is used to drive the speakers and that is essentially a one-way valve.

There is no easy way to physically disconnect an integrated microphone, but I believe the preferred method of physically disabling an integrated webcam is with tape (and a bit of cotton wool maybe to protect the lens from glue).



 11:47 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

An AT&T tech told me years ago that Western Electric handset earpieces also picked up some audio.

Thus the then-common practice of putting ones hand over the mouthpiece as a primitive "hold" button didn't totally kill the phone's ability to hear.


 5:21 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)


A security issue that goes unnoticed by lots of folks is a camera from a building "over there" and from a window a bit higher than your window that reads not only your monitor, but with video capabilities can even record your key strokes. At first hearing this, you may think I am a writer of fiction, but if you can see an upper floor window out your office window right now, think about where your monitor and keyboard are and see if there is line-of-sight. Then consider how high tech camera and video equipment has gotten.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention directional microphones. That "Jaws" fella in the chopper outside that office building in another movie he did might give you an idea, even if that is just a bit too much. That technology has also improved dramatically, even since that movie was made. Forget the name of that movie. Police chopper pilot thing ...



 5:41 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Heck, if the University at Berkley boffin department could shoot video of a fellow inserting an ordinary key into an ordinary lock... and then make a duplicate key from the video that opens the same lock, and did same some 10 years back why think it unusual line of sight on keyboards and screens won't have the same possibilities?

As for listening in or viewing... you have disabled those functions on your system, right? If not... :)

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