iSpy software can read texts and steal passwords with its little eye (video)

Updated ·1 min read

We spy, with our bleary eye, a new piece of software that could make it dramatically easier to steal personal data. The program, known as iSpy, allows devious voyeurs to remotely identify and read text typed on touchscreen displays. That, in and of itself, isn't exactly new, but iSpy takes shoulder surfing to slightly terrifying new areas -- namely, those beyond the "shoulder." Developed by Jan-Michael Frahm and Fabian Monrose of the UNC-Chapel Hill, this program, like those before it, takes advantage of the magnified keys found on most touchscreens. All you'd have to do is point a camera at someone else's screen and iSpy will automatically record whatever he or she types by stabilizing the video footage and identifying the enlarged keys. If you're using a smartphone camera, you'll be able to eavesdrop from up to three meters away, but if you opt for a more heavy duty DSLR device, you could steal passwords from up to 60 meters away. The software can also recognize any words typed into a device, and, according to its architects, can identify letters with greater than 90 percent accuracy. When used with a DSLR camera, iSpy can even pick up on reflections of touchscreens in sunglasses or window panes from up to 12 meters away. To avoid this, Frahm and Monrose recommend disabling the magnified key function on your smartphone, or using some sort of screen shield. We recommend checking out a video of the program, after the break.