AES encryption, wireless keyboard security


wireless keyboard encryption, encrypted wireless keyboards, AES encryption

Wireless Keyboard Security

Wireless keyboard users have long known that transmitted keystrokes can be intercepted. Everything from credit card numbers and passwords to private business and financial data can be put at risk by the use of a wireless keyboard - unless the keyboard is encrypted.

Even with an encrypted keyboard, you need to be concerned with the type of encryption in use. A 2007 white paper from Dreamlab Technologies AG reported that encrypted keyboards from leading manufacturers are susceptible to surprisingly simple brute-force attacks. Wireless keyboard security can be an issue with these keyboards.

That's not the case with wireless keyboards encrypted with AES Secure technology.

AES encryption, or the Advanced Encryption Standard, is a powerful cryptographic algorithm chosen by the US government to protect the most sensitive information.

In an AES Secure wireless keyboard, keystrokes are encrypted with a 128-bit secret key before being transmitted over the air to a receiver attached to the computer. That receiver then applies the secret key, removes the encryption, and uncovers the original keystrokes. Both encryption and decryption involve a series of complicated mathematical operations, but it all happens so fast, you can go right on typing without ever noticing a delay.

What makes an AES Secure wireless keyboard so impervious to attack is the 128-bit secret key. Previous encryption standards -including the ones used in keyboards studied by Dreamlab Technologies - used 32 or 64 bit keys. AES doubles the key size from 64 to 128 bits, but the time and energy needed to discover the key by brute force doesn't just double - it multiplies by 2 to the 64th power, or more than 18 billion billions. In the 10 years since the adoption of the AES encryption standard, no one has ever succeeded in breaking an AES encrypted transmission. In fact, Wikipedia estimates that with current computer speeds, it could take longer than the age of the universe to discover a 128-bit AES key by brute force techniques.

AES is the encryption algorithm used in wireless keyboards made by Wireless Computing of Austin, Texas.

Wireless Computing Keyboards

Wireless Computing offers two AES Secure keyboards: the full-sized RF-240 wireless keyboard and the compact RF-222 mini keyboard with optical trackball. Both are long-range keyboards capable of transmitting reliably for at least 100 feet. Each can be used in conference rooms, classrooms, auditoriums, offices and home theaters for government, corporate, educational and home applications.

Government users sometimes ask if Wireless Computing keyboards have been certified for FIPS 140-2, the federal information processing standard. The answer is no, not because this technology is any less secure, but because wireless keyboards don't need a second "public-key" algorithm, which is required for certification.

Wireless Computing keyboards use the same secret key to both encrypt and decrypt keystrokes. That secret key is set the first time a user sets up the keyboard and does not need to be shared with other users, as a public key is designed to be shared. You can use these keyboards by themselves or with a Wireless Computing wireless mouse or remote, comfortable with the knowledge that the information you type is yours and yours alone.

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