New software can read texts and emails from your smartphone’s screen


It used to be that ne’er-do-wells had to hack or intercept your phone’s data to be able to read sensitive communication like passwords and emails, but would you believe us if we told you that there’s now software that can actually read the screen of your device from up to 60 meters away? That’s the whole purpose of iSpy, a program that’s able to read  and identify text typed on a touchscreen from video footage of the screen or, using powerful optics, from the reflection off the device off glass. Computer vision researcher Jan-Michael Frahm at University of North Carolina says that “we can be in the second floor of a building and read a phone on the ground,” which honestly makes us all the more paranoid.

The system works by taking advantage of magnified keys which aids in typing in touchscreen devices like Android smartphones and iPhones. According to a report at New Scientist the program ‘analyses video footage and identifies the letters based on the bubble locations on screen,’ and has a 90% accuracy, says Frahm. The program is pretty damn effective too – one test involved a colleague of theirs typing away at a bus stop from the researcher’s building, surrounded by other users tapping away on their devices. To capture passwords, the software simply collects letters and does not perform any word recognition.

Fortunately, snoopers of this nature are still far and few in-between, though the truly paranoid can opt to turn off their magnified keys at the expense misspells and typos.

Via: New Scientist

Source: iSpy