back to article HP Inc wireless mouse can be spoofed

If you're using an HP Inc wireless keyboard/mouse combo and the cursor starts behaving badly, someone might be pranking you. That's because the wireless mouse in the ERK-321A bundle is unencrypted: anyone can sniff its signals, learn its protocol and commands, and inject their own signal in a spoofing attack. German …

  1. LaeMing Silver badge

    Reminds me somewhat of the ghost-typist call-out.

    Two people in adjoining offices had the same brand of wireless keyboards that just happened to have the same 8-bit ID code (this was many years ago, bluetooth is a little more capable than those old proprietary systems).

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me somewhat of the ghost-typist call-out.

      Logitech and Microsoft both had this problem, about a decade ago. They got around it by doing proper encryption - Logitech used either XOR or a bitwise shift (can't remember which) to "encrypt" their original keyboards!

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "They note that the attack isn't operating-system specific"

    So that means that all operating systems have a "virtual on-screen keyboard" ?

    I just checked and it is indicated that Linux has a few that are downloadable, but it does not state that there is any installed by default. I did find that Ubuntu has one by default, so there may well be other distros that have one as well, but apparently it is not certain.

    Windows, of course, is the golden goose for this attack since the virtual keyboard is integrated into the kernel and there are very few ways outside of editing the Registry which will not disable it - and you won't go doing that without intent.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: "They note that the attack isn't operating-system specific"

      A Linux desktop has things to click on. If necessary, the hacker can select text characters elsewhere on the screen, one at a time, and copy-and-paste text commands, like composing a ransom note from cut newspaper.

      Have we decided that they can't crack this wireless keyboard anyway, or, has someone else done that so that credit can't be claimed? The victim probably has this keyboard as well as this mouse, and they're probably sharing one USB plug-in adapter.

  3. PNGuinn
    FAIL

    ERK-321A

    EEK-321A.

    FIFY.

  4. James Marten
    Facepalm

    Everything has to be wireless

    Even headphones, even charging. Soon, even displays.

    And this is the inevitable outcome of it - if it's not a security problem, then there are the occasions where the connection simply doesn't work, or drops out if you move into the wrong position, or is too slow to use. There are indeed situations where there is no alternative, but for a mouse (which by its very nature has to be used in close proximity to the computer) or a fixed network link, what exactly is the problem with a traditional piece of copper wire?

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Everything has to be wireless

      Too true. A friend bought a wireless printer. Well, I say "printer", but it didn't do much printing. Most of the time it sulked in the corner and the operating system reported it as off-line, or in use elsewhere.

      In the end we just connected it with a USB cable and it now works faultlessly.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Mad.

    This is so ancient. Ever since wireless mice came out. I can see the value of one on a tablet (only one port and on most even a splitter can's charge while using it as USB host). But I can't see the value of a cordless mouse (or keyboard) on a laptop/workstation. Likely too the battery will go flat at a critical time.

    1. John Riddoch

      Re: Mad.

      In my experience, travelling with a wired mouse is a pain in the rear end. Every time you unpack or pack the mouse, you have to sort out the cable and connect it. With a wireless mouse, it's just less hassle and I always prefer a wireless mouse when I'm on the go with my laptop. Batteries last for ages on a good mouse (Logitech M510 in my case, same batteries for months with regular usage) and they're standard AAs so easy enough to get hold of if they do go flat.

      There is also the advantage that a cable will drag on a mouse, so you'll have less resistance on a cordless one; possibly more of a win for anyone needing precision (gamers, graphics designers)

      Finally, there are enough cables across a desk; being able to remove a couple of them might be seen as worthwhile just for tidiness.

      The above said, I still use a wired keyboard & mouse at my home PC :)

      1. g00se

        Re: Mad.

        Wired trackball every time! Surface unimportant. Much faster. No batteries to fail

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