Have you ever kept track of all of the ways that you transmit data in a single work day? If you did you’d probably end up with a hefty list by 5.30. Thankfully almost all of the data you’re sharing will have some sort of security features around it, whether that’s firewalls or some form of encryption. Now Microsoft are making sure that even keystrokes are protected in their new range of wireless keyboards.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a specification for the encryption of electronic data; in fact it’s one of the most secure encryption standards in use today. It’s been adopted by governments and enterprises the world over, and now Microsoft have incorporated the technology into their keyboards.
Having such a high profile encryption standard in a wireless keyboard could seem like overkill — that is until you consider everything that goes through one. After all, confidential emails, login information and billing details are typed in by keyboard users every day, and all it takes is for a smart cyber criminal or group to intercept these keystrokes and start putting the data together. Despite this, keyboard security is often a hugely (and frustratingly) overlooked point of vulnerability. But this can change.
So we’ve busted apart the jargon and explained the risk that these AES keyboards will fight against, but how do they actually work? Simply put, a secret AES encryption key is installed in the keyboard and the receiver at the point of manufacture. Microsoft’s keyboards also use random data generation and unique identifiers for each transmission to combat more sophisticated attacks. For a keyboard, it doesn’t really get more secure than this.
Let’s face it, the security conversation just isn’t going to go away, particularly when even the highest-profile organisations are still making the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Keep in mind that arming your customers with AES keyboards will go some way to battling the legions of cyber criminals, but they should only be a part of the conversation. Strong passwords and comprehensive security should always be utilised, and an AES keyboard is a welcome piece in the security solution.