Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/17/2008
08:55 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Free 'Trojan-Proof' Password Tool Released for Windows

Beta virtual keyboard software aims to ward off password-sniffing Trojans, malware

A trio of German software firms claims to have developed a password system that prevents Trojans and viruses from stealing passwords from a Windows machine.

The “Trojan-proof” virtual keyboard software, which was developed by Global IP Telecommunications, PMC Ciphers, and CyProtect AG, is available in a free beta version for download.

"This development can make input of PIN codes and transaction numbers for online banking completely safe in the near future," said C.B. Roellgen, creator of the password dialog and CTO of PMC Ciphers, in a statement.

It works like this: the software flashes a virtual keyboard onto the video display that flickers the characters on and off at high speeds, with the keys displayed in random locations on the screen rather than as a standard Qwerty keypad. As soon as the user types a character in his or her password on the virtual keyboard, that key is moved to another location on the keyboard.

In a demonstration of the technology, the simulated Trojan was only able capture “skin of the dialog window” and not the actual key characters making up the password code, according to the developers. And their high-powered Trojan simulator ate up about 11 percent to 15 percent of the machine’s CPU.

“A real Trojan horse must be programmed to consume less than one percent of CPU time in order not to be detectable by professionals,” the developers say in a video demonstration of the software.

Bernd Roellgen with PMC Ciphers and Global IP Telecommunications, says the developers wanted to fill in the gap of existing Trojan protection solutions. "We found that there wasn't a solution so far that was software-only," Roellgen said in an interview with Dark Reading. So that's the approach the developers took, he says.

But security expert Thierry Zoller, product manager and senior security engineer for n.runs AG, says that though he hasn’t tested the software, he doesn’t think it would be completely Trojan-proof. “The video shows that they use certain dithering tricks to foil screen cams to record what button has been pressed. This is nice, but surely not every way to find what keys have been pressed, not to mention there are DirectX-based screen recorders, which I doubt would not register these tricks,” he says.

This new virtual keyboard is not the first attempt at preventing password sniffing, either. “Attempts to prevent password sniffing have been appearing in various forms for years,” says Nate Lawson, principal with Root Labs. “There's no perfect solution to this problem. The best thing to do is vary the scheme occasionally, based on what attackers are doing and try to keep Trojan software off PCs in the first place.”

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Virginia a Hot Spot For Cybersecurity Jobs
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  10/9/2019
How to Think Like a Hacker
Dr. Giovanni Vigna, Chief Technology Officer at Lastline,  10/10/2019
7 SMB Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  10/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-17660
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/translate/translateheader_view.php in LimeSurvey 3.19.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the tolang parameter, as demonstrated by the index.php/admin/translate/sa/index/surveyid/336819/lang/ PATH_INFO.
CVE-2019-11281
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
Pivotal RabbitMQ, versions prior to v3.7.18, and RabbitMQ for PCF, versions 1.15.x prior to 1.15.13, versions 1.16.x prior to 1.16.6, and versions 1.17.x prior to 1.17.3, contain two components, the virtual host limits page, and the federation management UI, which do not properly sanitize user input...
CVE-2019-16521
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The broken-link-checker plugin through 1.11.8 for WordPress (aka Broken Link Checker) is susceptible to Reflected XSS due to improper encoding and insertion of an HTTP GET parameter into HTML. The filter function on the page listing all detected broken links can be exploited by providing an XSS payl...
CVE-2019-16522
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The eu-cookie-law plugin through 3.0.6 for WordPress (aka EU Cookie Law (GDPR)) is susceptible to Stored XSS due to improper encoding of several configuration options in the admin area and the displayed cookie consent message. This affects Font Color, Background Color, and the Disable Cookie text. A...
CVE-2019-16523
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The events-manager plugin through 5.9.5 for WordPress (aka Events Manager) is susceptible to Stored XSS due to improper encoding and insertion of data provided to the attribute map_style of shortcodes (locations_map and events_map) provided by the plugin.