Physical Password Breaking via Thermal Sequence Analysis

You are here

Top Reasons to Join SPS Today!

1. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine
2. Signal Processing Digital Library*
3. Inside Signal Processing Newsletter
4. SPS Resource Center
5. Career advancement & recognition
6. Discounts on conferences and publications
7. Professional networking
8. Communities for students, young professionals, and women
9. Volunteer opportunities
10. Coming soon! PDH/CEU credits
Click here to learn more.

Physical Password Breaking via Thermal Sequence Analysis

Duo Li, Xiao-Ping Zhang, Menghan Hu ; Guangtao Zhai, Xiaokang Yang

The thermal camera can capture keyboard surface temperature change after a human's touch. This phenomenon may be used to steal users' passwords physically. In this paper, based on the study of thermal dynamics of keyboards, we design a password break system using an infrared thermal camera. First, we build a signal model to describe the dynamic process of temperature change on the keyboard using Newton's law of cooling. Next, we develop a maximum likelihood parameter estimation algorithm to estimate the keystroke time instants. Then, by maximizing the probability of key order arrangement, a novel password breaking algorithm is developed. Our algorithm is tested using simulated data as well as real-world data. Experiment results show that our algorithm is effective for physical password breaking using thermal characteristics. Based on our results, we discuss strategies for password protection at the end.

SPS on Twitter

  • Join Dr. Peilan Wang and Dr Jun Fang for "Channel State Information Acquisition for Intelligent Reflecting Surface-…
  • The SPS Webinar Series continues on Monday, 10 October when Dr. Luisa Verdoliva presents "Media Forensics and DeepF…
  • DEADLINE EXTENDED: The IEEE Transactions on Multimedia is accepting submissions for a Special Issue on Point Cloud…
  • Short courses return to ! Register for live and remote sessions, "A Hands-on Approach for Implementing Sto…
  • Join Dr. Sabyasachi Ghosh on Wednesday, 21 September for a new SPS Webinar, “Tapestry: A Compressed Sensing Approac…

SPS Videos

Signal Processing in Home Assistants


Multimedia Forensics

Careers in Signal Processing             


Under the Radar