Thought the only person who could read your text was the creep looking over your shoulder on the subway? Think again. A little program called iSpy can read what’s being typed on a smartphone from nearly 200ft away.
Computer researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a program called iSpy which can determine what’s being typed on a smartphone from nearly 200 feet away, according to NewScientist.
Frahm and Fabian Monrose, also of UNC-Chapel Hill, have built a program, dubbed iSpy, that can identify text typed on a touchscreen from video footage of the screen or even its reflection in windows or sunglasses. Video from an ordinary mobile phone camera can be used to spy on a person from 3 metres away. And a snoop with a digital SLR camera that shoots HD video could read a screen up to 60 metres away.
iSpy exploits the magnified keys feature of recent touchscreen devices. Letters onand Android keyboards pop up in larger bubbles when pressed. The program analyzes the video footage taken from afar and identifies which keys are being pressed. Since some popups overlap (like e and r) the program assigns an accuracy probability to each detected letter and is correct more than 90% of the time. “We were surprised at how well that worked,” Frahm said.
Turning one’s back might not prevent those trying to spy on your texts from doing so, the software can even capture footage from reflections in windows or a persons glasses and successfully decode the texts. Somehow, I don’t see a mobile version of this software hitting the App Store any time soon. Invasions of privacy like this don’t tend to go over well unless the creators want to license it to government agencies. Hooray for Big Brother seeing everything I do.
Take a look at the video below…