Spying and hacking efforts have security experts in a dizzying search on where the “next big vulnerability” will come from. The hackers have used numerous angles employing just about every method and trick in the book, and come up with new weaknesses all of the time.
One such trick is reading computer monitors from a far distance – particularly monitors that aren’t facing the snoop. Just how easy is it to do this? Well, three researchers from the Information Security and Cryptography Group at the Saarland University in Germany have proven that it’s a cinch to read text at over 10 meters from around a corner just using a telescope and reflective objects. The telescope used was an “off the shelf” model and the reflective objects tested on were tea pots, spoons, eyeglasses, plastic soda bottles, and even the pupil of a human eye.
Theoretically if a spy would use a far more powerful telescope and enough strategically-placed reflective objects (perhaps from his or her physical presence due to social engineering), any location with an open window could be a security breach.