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Input Devices Security IT

Sonar Keyboard Logs You Out To Protect Your Data 175

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-just-had-to-pee dept.
Zothecula writes "While the simple act of logging off a workstation is an obvious way to protect sensitive data – like that used by healthcare providers, pharmacies, banks and government agencies – it is all too easy for users to forget and leave the data not only viewable, but also editable by anyone who happens to pass by. Custom keyboard supplier Key Source International (KSI) has developed a keyboard that does the remembering for you, logging out as soon as the user physically leaves the keyboard."
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Sonar Keyboard Logs You Out To Protect Your Data

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  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:46PM (#35282796)
    I think I'll sneak into the office and swap all the keyboards out with these.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:46PM (#35282800)

    When I worked about a decade ago at a place where people with dubious intentions could access the work area, I ended up making a switch embedded in a seat cushion that was connected to the serial port of my workstation. When I got up, the program sitting and monitoring that port would automatically xlock the machine.

    It was an ugly hack, but I never had unattended terminal issues unlike some cow-orkers.

    • by NFN_NLN (633283)

      When I worked about a decade ago at a place where people with dubious intentions could access the work area, I ended up making a switch embedded in a seat cushion that was connected to the serial port of my workstation. When I got up, the program sitting and monitoring that port would automatically xlock the machine.

      It was an ugly hack, but I never had unattended terminal issues unlike some cow-orkers.

      In 90% of office scenarios the general public doesn't have access to the office computers. I can see guarding against the public in a hospital setting for example, but for most people the office should be secured against outsiders only.

      My computer is like the "pocket watch" in "Gangs of New York". I leave it out in the open and invite people to mess with it. Yet they don't... because they know, if they do, there will be repercussions... and they will be horrific.

      • My computer is like the "pocket watch" in "Gangs of New York". I leave it out in the open and invite people to mess with it. Yet they don't... because they know, if they do, there will be repercussions... and they will be horrific.

        And the rest of us just clean the cheetos off occasionally.

  • by pnuema (523776) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:47PM (#35282814)
    Being a performance tester, I constantly engage in risk analysis. Yes, it may $600,000 to performance test your app. How much does an hour of downtime cost you? Depending on how costly a security breach might be, the $100 keyboard (or whatever it costs) could seem like a bargain, even per employee. Smart idea.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Bad idea.

      Most people do work at their desk, not necessarily at the key board. all this will do is frustrate employees and the will work aorund it.
      No, A web cam the detect when you physically leave your desk would be a good idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These keyboards are completely hackable by dolphins.

    If you work at an aquarium or have dolphin coworkers, I would avoid these keyboards.

  • IT Support? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:50PM (#35282854) Journal

    This is going to be nightmarish for IT and it will generate all kinds of useless calls as a result. My guess is we'll be seeing some people using duct tape over the sensors on the first day too, making these expensive keyboards totally useless, apart from being a great way to inflate IT budgets, to ensure they stay plump.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:50PM (#35282856) Homepage Journal

    Couldn't a solution using RFID be used. Basically you have a RFID detector with 1m radius of detection. The detector would poll the card to see if is there and logs you out or locks your session if you leave the zone.

    • RFID/smartcards in the employee IDs would work. You just want to be very careful that you don't set up a system that simply encourages people to leave the card on the computer in order to stay logged in... Then you have stolen IDs floating around, and unlocked terminals. Whether or not people will do this probably depends on how tyrranical you are, and how fast they can log back in/unlock. If your horrible mess of a system image takes 5 minutes to log in, you'll need an overtly totalitarian IT security grou
      • I suppose this is where having virtual computers is useful, since you would essentially always be logged in, but your session would only be accessible as long as you are connected and could simply switch to which ever terminal you are at.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        The answer there is to use the same card but a different RFID token as a door unlock.

        Leaving the ID card behind is fine but you can't enter the employee lounge, or access other areas.

        • Why not have the same RFID? Many companies manage the card list on a central system.

          • by peragrin (659227)

            because security through stupidity is never good.

            Do you use the same key to unlock your car as you do your house?

            Besides with two RFID tags in one device long range scanning becomes harder.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        could always add .. where my mom works if you don't have your ID on you and you are in the building you are fired. no 3 strikes no questions no excuses.

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      I've looked at this, and the commercially available ones are only good for a few (4-6) inches. that's 10-15cm for metric folk.

  • by Spad (470073)

    All the technology in the world won't fix staff who don't want to do what you tell them. All this will do is piss off people who have to keep going to and from their desk while in sight of their machine to get files or talk to visitors until they figure out a way to trick the keyboard into thinking they're always at their machine, at which point you've spent a lot of money for nothing.

    Put reasonable security policies in place, punish your staff proportionally if they repeatedly violate them and don't try to

  • by mfh (56)

    Will fix the problem of these keyboards logging you out when you leave for a quick coffee. Once again, any kind of security is thwarted by duct tape.

    • Will fix the problem of these keyboards logging you out when you leave for a quick coffee. Once again, any kind of security is thwarted by duct tape.

      They've got that one figured out: If the sensor detects a range of zero, corresponding to the duct-tape trick, your workstation will play a tinny rendition of "Don't Stand so Close to Me" at earsplitting volume until one of your enraged coworkers rectifies the situation and then shoves a pen into your eye...

    • by Amouth (879122)

      if it can give actual depth.. then just don't except any readings less than 1ft ... but then we can defeat it with a cardboard cutout (which would be funny to see really)

  • I hope this works better than those public toilets that flush as soon as you "leave." Reach down to tie your shoe and suddenly...*whoosh* all over you naked buttocks.
  • by gQuigs (913879) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @04:04PM (#35283014) Homepage

    For linux:
    http://blueproximity.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
    For Win:
    http://btprox.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    • For linux users... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @04:32PM (#35283340)
      Just use this script:

      #!/bin/bash

      #

      #####

      # Use 'hcitool scan' to find the MAC address of the desired bluetooth device

      MACADDR="00:00:00:00:00:00"

      STATE="$(hcitool name ${MACADDR})"

      if [ "${STATE}" = "" ] ; then

      echo "Bluetooth device not found at startup. Exiting..." >&2

      exit 1

      fi

      LOCK="UNSET"

      CHECK="$(ps -ef | grep gnome-screensaver | grep -v grep | cut -c49- )"

      if [ "${CHECK}" = "gnome-screensaver" ] ; then

      LOCK="gnome-screensaver-command -a"

      UNLOCK="gnome-screensaver-command -d"

      fi

      CHECK="$(ps -ef | grep xscreensaver | grep -v grep | cut -c49- )"

      if [ "${CHECK}" = "xscreensaver" ] ; then

      LOCK="xscreensaver-command -lock"

      UNLOCK="xscreensaver-command -deactivate"

      fi

      if [ "${LOCK}" = "UNSET" ] ; then

      echo "Supported screensaver not running" >&2

      exit 2

      fi

      SLEEP_TIME=15

      # Enter main loop

      while true ; do

      if [ "${STATE}" = "" ] ; then

      ${LOCK}

      else

      ${UNLOCK}

      fi

      sleep ${SLEEP_TIME}

      STATE=$(hcitool name ${MACADDR})

      done

      exit 0

    • by OverlordQ (264228)

      btprox is overrated, tried it and found I could walk nearly anywhere in the office and the computer wouldn't lock, bluetooth has too large a range for this.

  • Wow, that is potentially (highly) irritating.

    Imagine:

    * You duck down in your chair to grab a pencil you drop
    * You lean over to open a desk drawer
    * You lean back to take a moment of reflection
    * You step to the side (if standing) to grab something
    * You're skinny and the sensors can't see you
    * You (potentially) don't move enough while watching something on the screen
    * You do a lot of back-and-forth in a small area (eg. a pharmacy, where you've got to fetch medications after looking them up, then come back to t

    • by pz (113803)

      Wow, that is potentially (highly) irritating.

      Imagine:

      * You duck down in your chair to grab a pencil you drop
      * You lean over to open a desk drawer

      [ etc. ]

      A more sensible meme would be to lock the machine when the user steps away instead of logging them out, to be sure. Hopefully the sensors are accurate. Even then, there are many cases (within the designed use case) where this probably isn't appropriate or useful. Biometric logins/unlocking would likely be a bare minimum additional component, IMO.

      Nearly every OMGITCANTPOSSIBLYWORK scenario suggested above can be fixed by proper adjustment of various sensitivity and timeout settings. And, if you read the article, it can lock the system, or log out, or potentially anything you want it to do. Why automatically assume that the people who designed such a thing are incompetent boobs?

      "The SonarLocID Keyboard connects to a PC via USB and can be configured via an included programming application that allows the user to program custom keystrokes as well as d

  • My computer has a state of the art dynamic temporal activity sensing program that will automatically lock my workstation! I can even set it for different amounts of time!

    So if at ANY time I am not doing any activity on my computer, for a period of time, say 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes (Whatever I want!) say if I get up, or fall asleep or stare out the window too long, it will automatically and magically lock up my computer. Talk about safety! Amazing!

    • by peragrin (659227)

      So your computer is secure as long as your nearby enough to notice it, and no one can walk into the room 30 seconds after you run to the bathroom and use your computer.

      5 minutes is enough time to walk into an unlocked house and walk out with a computer and TV.

  • You could just, you know, use that option that that requires a password after coming back from screensaver and set the screensaver idle timer rather low.
    (By screensaver I mean turning off the monitor, I haven't used an actual screensaver since the 90s)

  • I just created my own motion sensing system to log you out. It melds the security of handcuffs to the authenticating power of a USB key. BAM!

  • There's an exploit for it already: stickers.
  • This keyboard is so great that I am now even more likely to forget my sessions open on computers that aren't equipped with it compared with before.

  • Why not just a USB transducer?

  • I was tasked to find a solution for this kind of problem last year for my workplace. Basically it came down to a couple of different technologies.
    • RFID - Range too small, you basically have to have the keycard sitting on the desk. Free software [google.com] to do it though.
    • Bluetooth - Easily enough to do with software [rohos.com], but getting an accurate bluetooth range is difficult. It's quite possible someone walking along in a room next to the room the computer is in could cause it to unlock without them ever being aware.
    • Son
    • by Spikeles (972972)
      Blah, teach me not to proof read. With bluetooth we also looked into automatically unlocking when back in range hence the range comment. But the point stands, the range is notorious to be accurate. It could lock straight away, or it could stay unlocked 15m away while you are at the photocopier. Not to mention some devices go into low power mode turning off bluetooth, which makes the computer think it's gone and locks it.
  • The tech doesn't have to be quite so "high." You just need a magnetic receptacle at the terminal. Attached to your belt, on a tether, is a little magnetic bead. When you sit down, you put the bead in the receptacle and the terminal activates. When you get up and walk away the bead pops out and the terminal locks.

    They've had this kind of thing on watercraft forever. If you're thrown from the boat, the tether pops and the ignition cuts.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Attached to your belt, on a tether, is a little magnetic bead.

      So now you're telling me I'll have to wear pants?

  • I have way too many things open to be logging out all the time --- it's a royal pain and I lose too much state, so I just lock the screen when I leave. It was easy to build the habit as for a while I had a co-worker who was a joker who had a warped sense of humor, so I was careful to make sure he never had a chance to screw anything up. It's now a reflex...

  • Why can't they jut make a simple, reasonably-sized USB proximity dongle that sends a Windows+L keystroke (instead of using stupid third party "lockscreens").
  • How is this solution better than a screensaver with the 'lock after X mins of inactivity' option?

  • The badge will be left sitting on the keyboard and finger print scanners can be fooled by a simple black and white photocopy of the users finger print. What little improvement the vendor may or may not have provided with the sonar feature was quickly eliminated by the introduction of convenience features made to alleviate what would obviously become tedious shortly after installation.

    If the data truely needs that kind of security the answer is simple. When the inactivity time limit is reached and the machin

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