Microsoft introduces encrypted keyboard and mouse desktop set

Microsoft has launched its brand new encrypted Wireless Desktop 2000 keyboard and mouse hardware set. The keyboard becomes the company’s first device to feature Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-Bit Encryption, the same technology that is being used by the U.S. government to keep their wireless connections secure.

According to the e-mail we received from Microsoft, the encryption means that whenever you press a key, the security technology protects all of your information by eliminating the transfer of the code through the air. This should not only appeal to businesses such as governments and financial institutions, but also home users who wish to keep all of their data private.

The keyboard is matched by the Wireless Mouse 2000, which features improved side grips and an “ambidextrous design” which should allow it to be comfortable to use in either left or right hands. The keyboard also comes with what the company say is a new “pillow-textured” palm rest which adds additional comfort to the keyboard, though it does also feature a fingerprint magnet in the form of a glossy black design.

The keyboard and mouse set will retail for £39.99 in the United Kingdom and $39.95 in the U.S.

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I can understand the encrypted wireless keyboard, since it's been proven that you can sniff wireless keyboard key presses, but a mouse too? what good is sniffing x +y coordinates?

SirEvan said,
I can understand the encrypted wireless keyboard, since it's been proven that you can sniff wireless keyboard key presses, but a mouse too? what good is sniffing x +y coordinates?

its not the sniffing of the x + y is the rogue generation of cordinates from a 3rd party. (OOPS i just forced you to click ok, or delete etc). or just totally screw with the mouse making it unreliable to use.

It's always puzzled me why anyone would want a wireless keyboard. Forget the security implications. The keyboard is stationary in one spot. Why go through the hassle of buying and replacing batteries (or recharging batteries) when the keyboard could simply be powered by the computer?

And as far as mice go, I've owned two wireless mice: A Logitech MX1000, and another MX1000 when the non-replaceable battery on the first one wore out. Those two mice were good mice, but I never liked it when the battery would run low when I was in the middle of something. Since then I've gone back to wired mice, and I'm perfectly happy with that.

Using your computer as a TV and your keyboard as a remote ? I actually used a wireless keyboard as a controller for a virtual guitar effect pedal. Plus there are people that just don't want the hassle (do the hustle !) of dealing with wires. In all honesty I find wireless keyboard a lot more undestandable than wireless mice.

back lighting via LED for Keyboard and Mouse. With the upcoming Windows 8 seems that these type devices will fall into the wastebasket though.

belto said,
back lighting via LED for Keyboard and Mouse. With the upcoming Windows 8 seems that these type devices will fall into the wastebasket though.

Huh ? Why's that ?

Do they really think they can get away with making it more expensive in Britain!? Our incomes aren't that high.

Meph said,
Do they really think they can get away with making it more expensive in Britain!? Our incomes aren't that high.

Taxes are the difference. US prices are stated without taxes (varies per state), while the UK price includes VAT & whatever other duties.

thommcg said,

Taxes are the difference. US prices are stated without taxes (varies per state), while the UK price includes VAT & whatever other duties.

Gotta pay off those EU Antitrust fines some how LOL

How can you encrypt a keypress? Since it's always one key that's sent, couldn't a hacker log all keypresses and then try to figure out which hash is which key (using a list of the most common letters and a dictionary)?

Aethec said,
How can you encrypt a keypress? Since it's always one key that's sent, couldn't a hacker log all keypresses and then try to figure out which hash is which key (using a list of the most common letters and a dictionary)?

Time-based encryption. Combination of AES and something like RSA SecurID to generate a new key every x seconds.

Aethec said,
How can you encrypt a keypress? Since it's always one key that's sent, couldn't a hacker log all keypresses and then try to figure out which hash is which key (using a list of the most common letters and a dictionary)?
its a 128 bit key encrypting 4 bytes beng sent. Most encryption like this will use random data to fill out the packet as to prevent using hashes to isolate keys.

Why would you think you need this. Just use a wired one. Although Microsoft do make good hardware generally. I think everyone agrees with me on this one.

ChuckFinley said,
Why would you think you need this. Just use a wired one. Although Microsoft do make good hardware generally. I think everyone agrees with me on this one.

Microsoft has indeed very decent hardware.

AP707 said,
Defence against keyloggers?

No. Keyloggers work at a software level in the OS, picking up keystrokes before they're sent to applications. And at that point, they're already decoded. They must be for the OS and all applications running on it to understand them. (geeks: I'm talking about WM_KEYDOWN messages etc and event hooking here)

I figure this keyboard is only here to prevent wireless wiretapping (which is a funny concept when you think about it).

Because wiretapping keyboards in WLAN's is a huge problem today because companies don't run encrypted WLAN's. Or something.

Maybe in the event of infiltrators, physically at your company, but still not with access to computers... Uhh, that's the only case I can think of here. That, or insecure WLAN's. But sysadmins of such networks need to be spanked very harshly.

Northgrove said,

No. Keyloggers work at a software level in the OS, picking up keystrokes before they're sent to applications. And at that point, they're already decoded. They must be for the OS and all applications running on it to understand them. (geeks: I'm talking about WM_KEYDOWN messages etc and event hooking here)

I figure this keyboard is only here to prevent wireless wiretapping (which is a funny concept when you think about it).

Because wiretapping keyboards in WLAN's is a huge problem today because companies don't run encrypted WLAN's. Or something.

Slightly OT: what is a good software to scan for keyloggers?
TIA

Fritzly said,

Slightly OT: what is a good software to scan for keyloggers?
TIA

Most AV's will flag software it thinks the end user should know about. I know AV's always flag Angry IP Scanner when I use it.

Northgrove said,

No. Keyloggers work at a software level in the OS, picking up keystrokes before they're sent to applications. And at that point, they're already decoded. They must be for the OS and all applications running on it to understand them. (geeks: I'm talking about WM_KEYDOWN messages etc and event hooking here)

I figure this keyboard is only here to prevent wireless wiretapping (which is a funny concept when you think about it).

Because wiretapping keyboards in WLAN's is a huge problem today because companies don't run encrypted WLAN's. Or something.

Maybe in the event of infiltrators, physically at your company, but still not with access to computers... Uhh, that's the only case I can think of here. That, or insecure WLAN's. But sysadmins of such networks need to be spanked very harshly.

There are key logger dongles that plug into the ps2 port. It will replay everything typed when a certain phrase is typed

Northgrove said,
...
Because wiretapping keyboards in WLAN's is a huge problem today because companies don't run encrypted WLAN's. Or something.

Maybe in the event of infiltrators, physically at your company, but still not with access to computers... Uhh, that's the only case I can think of here. That, or insecure WLAN's. But sysadmins of such networks need to be spanked very harshly.

While I love the idea of a keyboard and mouse that operate over 802.11, these are just plain RF wireless (not even bluetooth I think). Although encrypting the traffic seems over the top since they're pretty weak (signal wise), you shouldn't be able to pick up the key presses from even a couple of meters away.

Northgrove said,

No. Keyloggers work at a software level in the OS.

There are hardware keyloggers, even keyboards that have been hacked to contain keyloggers in the firmware, and there are wireless keyloggers too. (good for capturing passwords and the like)

Looks like a pretty decently designed keyboard too, a bit unexpected coming from MS, mouse looks like crap though.
There are far too few wireless keyboards and mice made.

Leonick said,
Looks like a pretty decently designed keyboard too, a bit unexpected coming from MS, mouse looks like crap though.
There are far too few wireless keyboards and mice made.

MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice. Much better than the crap Apple pulls out.

digger1985 said,

MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice. Much better than the crap Apple pulls out.

And this world is only about MS and Apple. The War! Always think about the war, and only Apple exist as the sole competitor to Microsoft, so they must always be brought up in discussions even if they are not part of it. The war must stay alive! Claim how much Apple sucks here at every opportunity!

Anyway. I like Logitech's keyboards and mice too. I bought a super cheap Logitech Wireless Desktop MK250 and it was surprisingly good although of course a bit "plastic" in feel.

What I find the most annoying when speaking wireless desktops is that there are very few choices when trying to find a keyboard + mouse where the keyboard lacks a numeric keyboard for less space. Almost all have a numpad and it's annoying if you don't often type number series. I have never missed one on my laptop. There are a few "slim" keyboards like this, but hardly any sold in a mouse + keyboard set (to use less usb ports).

digger1985 said,

MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice. Much better than the crap Apple pulls out.

just had to throw some brand bashing in there didn't ya?

Leonick said,
Looks like a pretty decently designed keyboard too, a bit unexpected coming from MS, mouse looks like crap though.
There are far too few wireless keyboards and mice made.

I was hyped about the Microsoft Touch mouse, but now I have to reconsider getting this instead. Cool ****.

(I'd still get the former if I could get the keyboard separately)

Leonick said,
Looks like a pretty decently designed keyboard too, a bit unexpected coming from MS, mouse looks like crap though.
There are far too few wireless keyboards and mice made.

What you're teling is crap, Microsoft makes very decent hardware.

Leonick said,
Looks like a pretty decently designed keyboard too, a bit unexpected coming from MS, mouse looks like crap though.
There are far too few wireless keyboards and mice made.

While I haven't tried any of their keyboards, Microsoft makes some really good mice. I'm still using an Intellimouse Explorer from 1998 which has outlived all the other mice I've tried replacing it with. Apple mice are especially prone to failure, and shouldn't even be a consideration if you plan on gaming.

digger1985 said,

MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice. Much better than the crap Apple pulls out.

Let me guess, you assumed that just because I said it was surprising to see it coming from MS i had to be preferring Apple keyboards? Sigh...
Were thinking more about Logitech actually.

Jarrichvdv said,

What you're teling is crap, Microsoft makes very decent hardware.

Yup, they do, very decent, not very good though, it's just decent ;P

Enron said,

While I haven't tried any of their keyboards, Microsoft makes some really good mice. I'm still using an Intellimouse Explorer from 1998 which has outlived all the other mice I've tried replacing it with. Apple mice are especially prone to failure, and shouldn't even be a consideration if you plan on gaming.


Most of MS keyboards actually look pretty decent, wireless ones however are usually pretty crappy which is a shame.
As for Mice, I've used a few MS ones and they were good, but nothing compares to a Logitech mouse, I just love the quick scrolling wheel.

And yes, apple mice are pretty bad for gaming, they all have only one button I think, no right button.

digger1985 said,

MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice. Much better than the crap Apple pulls out.

I disagree, my Sidewinder X4 after 2 months of use it looked like it had been used for 5 years. All the keys were nearly rubbed off and worn out, it was terrible.

Northgrove said,

And this world is only about MS and Apple. The War! Always think about the war, and only Apple exist as the sole competitor to Microsoft, so they must always be brought up in discussions even if they are not part of it. The war must stay alive! Claim how much Apple sucks here at every opportunity!

Thank you! I am so tired of this endless debate; btw MS makes excellent hardware, maybe not the best in show but, again, excellent products at a decent price.

Leonick said,

And yes, apple mice are pretty bad for gaming, they all have only one button I think, no right button.


Yup, they do, very decent, not very good though, it's just decent ;P


Most of MS keyboards actually look pretty decent, wireless ones however are usually pretty crappy which is a shame.
As for Mice, I've used a few MS ones and they were good, but nothing compares to a Logitech mouse, I just love the quick scrolling wheel.

And yes, apple mice are pretty bad for gaming, they all have only one button I think, no right button.

Apple has had right click for some time..(once enabled)
But they are not great gaming devices for sure

SuperKid said,

I disagree, my Sidewinder X4 after 2 months of use it looked like it had been used for 5 years. All the keys were nearly rubbed off and worn out, it was terrible.

Like most companies, they do make some substandard products. But their good keyboards (like their ergonomic keyboards) are very high up on the quality chain. MS does make some really good keyboards & mice. But yes they also make some not so good ones.