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FBI Warning: USB Phone Charger Keylogger

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The FBI has put out a warning to private industry to be on the lookout for key loggers that are extremely stealthy. The stealth devices look exactly the same as a USB phone charger that most people have plugged in their own home.

The device is called KeySweeper and before it caught the idea eye of criminals, it was developed by a whitehat hacker. While it may look and function as a USB charger, it can also decrypt, log, and report keystrokes from wireless Microsoft keyboards. The device even has the ability to send SMS alerts when it intercepts certain keystrokes, URLs, or usernames, and thanks to a rechargeable battery, it works even when unplugged. Originally, meant to show that the concept was possible, the design has the FBI worried.

According to their warning, blackhat hackers have created their own version of the device and authorities are worried that it could be used in industrial espionage. Federal authorities believe that if it were to be placed in a strategically chosen office it could steal personal information, passwords, intellectual property, and other trade secrets.

While the FBI did not say that any KeySweeper devices had been found in use, there is some good news in that Microsoft Bluetooth keyboards are not susceptible. Additionally, any keyboard manufactured after 2011 uses Advanced Encryption Standard technology and are safe as well. If you are at all concerned that you may be at risk, it might be a good time to upgrade to a newer input device.