Keystroke Fingerprinting Is Raising Concerns, Possible Kernel/Wayland Solution

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 24 March 2016 at 08:12 AM EDT. 31 Comments
With companies like Google and Facebook having developed keystroke fingerprinting technology to identify users based upon how long they press keys on the keyboard and the time between key presses, this poses new challenges for those wanting to stay completely anonymous on the Internet. A developer is trying to come up with a solution down to the display server or kernel level.

By analyzing a user's keystrokes, it can be revealing to advertisers, banks, universities, and other institutions wishing to track users. Keystroke fingerprinting has raised concerns particularly among Tor users on the Internet. A developer is hoping to see work done on a system-wide solution for anti-keystroke fingerprinting.

A proposal mailed out on Wednesday is hoping to see work done at the kernel level for caching keystrokes and introducing random delays before passing them on to user-space. The other option being explored is hooking it in at the display server level with Wayland or X.Org for introducing these random (tiny) delays on input events. You can read the proposal in full here, which was sent to the Wayland mailing list among other project lists.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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