Aug 23, 2009 27 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Device captures everything you type and sends it via your ethernet card to the Dept. of Homeland Security without your knowledge, consent or a search warrant – every time you log on to the internet!
I was opening up my almost brand new laptop, to replace a broken PCMCIA slot riser on the motherboard. As soon as I got the keyboard off, I noticed a small cable running from the keyboard connection underneath a piece of metal protecting the motherboard.
I figured “No Big Deal”, and continued with the disassembly. But when I got the metal panels off, I saw a small white heatshrink-wrapped package. Being ever curious, I sliced the heatshrink package open. I found a little circuit board inside.
Being an EE by trade, this peaked my curiosity considerably. On one side of the board, one Atmel AT45D041A four megabit Flash memory chip.
On the other side, one Microchip Technology PIC16F876 Programmable Interrupt Controller, along with a little Fairchild Semiconductor CD4066BCM quad bilateral switch.
Looking further, I saw that the other end of the cable was connected to the integrated ethernet board.
What could this mean? I called the manufacturer’s tech support about it. They said, and I quote, “The intregrated service tag identifier is there for assisting customers in the event of lost or misplaced personal information.” He then hung up.
A little more research, and I found that that board spliced in between the keyboard and the ethernet chip is little more than a Keyghost hardware keylogger.
The reasons why a computer manufacturer would put this into their laptops can only be left up to your imagination. It would be very impractical to hand-analyze the logs and very CPU-intensive to do so on a computer for every person that purchased a laptop. Why are the keyloggers there? I recently almost found out.
I called the police, as having a keylogger unknown to me in my laptop is a serious offense. They told me to call the Department of Homeland Security. At this point, I am in disbelief. Why would the DHS have a keylogger in my laptop? It was surreal.
So I called them. They told me to submit a “Freedom of Information Act” request.
This is what I got back: