hardware keylogger question

Hewlett-packard / Hp pavilion dv7 notebook...
October 21, 2010 at 09:44:47
Specs: linux mint 8, 2.001 GHz / 6140 MB
I've recently bought a generic usb soundcard for my computer on ebay. I was wondering if there would be any way to have the device checked to see if there is any kind of keylogging mechanism inside the device. In Linux, is it easy or difficult for a hacker to install keylogging without the root user's knowledge?

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#1
October 21, 2010 at 16:59:55
The "ease" of doing so depends on the distro and the security practices adhered to by it and the user. Not using the root account actually makes it more difficult for a malicious user to sneak software onto the system, as they cannot modify any critical files.

I'm no hardware engineer, but I find it hard to envision a device being able to function as a keylogger without either driver support from the operating system or the keyboard being run through it prior to connection to the computer. I'm also unaware of anyone exploiting a legitimate Linux driver for nefarious purposes.

As far as seeing what the device is actually sending to and receiving from the computer, you may want to read this:

http://tjworld.net/wiki/Linux/Ubunt...

You can ignore the parts about setting up a virtual machine if you are not interested in spying on the Windows driver as well.


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#2
October 21, 2010 at 18:49:04
Physical access would be needed to install any hardware device. I doubt one could tell as they are usually transparent to the OS. They are not a device as such but a recorder of signals. You need to protect from physical access.

Software apps may be different. We do know that MS suffers from root kits that can't be found no matter who is looking. It may be that Linux suffers too.

Saying all that one would have to get the data off at some point. That point is how you determine it is bugged.

To be in a strict crypto deal nothing in your home or office is secure. One could stand outside and record everything as it is now.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?


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