Can Wireless Mouses or Keyboards Get a Virus?


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As technology advances, so do the conveniences and dangers that come with it. One of those conveniences comes in the form of wireless devices. Some examples we use in everyday life are wireless phones and headphones. More recently, wireless keyboards and mice have come on the scene, giving us the freedom to conduct our business wherever we are. However, while the convenience is great, you may wonder whether wireless keyboards and mice can get viruses.

As it turns out, no, wireless keyboards and mice do not get viruses. However, they CAN be hacked and used to send viruses to a computer.  Using Mousejack and a dongle, an attacker can pick up, command, and mimic non-Bluetooth wireless keyboards and mice if they are within a 300-foot range. 

One of the main vulnerabilities of using a non-Bluetooth keyboard and mouse is that there is no overall standard of security and rules that each vendor has to follow, which means it can vary widely from vendor to vendor as to how they will make their system secure. Read on to find out what happens when Mousejack is used on wireless keyboards and mice, as well as to get some recommendations on which wireless keyboards and mice are most secure. 

Can a Wireless Mouse Get a Virus?

A wireless mouse can be used to send a virus to the computer by a nearby dongle pretending to be a mouse. The way a mouse communicates is by using movement. A wireless mouse transmits that information to a dongle which is plugged into a computer. Wireless mice and wireless keyboards work in tandem to send information to the dongle. 

However, while many vendors encrypt the information sent through a keyboard, few will encrypt a mouse’s movements. An attacking dongle nearby can pick up on those movements and copy them. They can then use the mouse movements to send a keypress packet to the other computer without actually using any of the keystrokes on the keyboard. The dongle essentially thinks that the mouse movements are coming from its own mouse and keyboard.

In short, no, a mouse itself cannot get a virus, but it can be hacked and used to send a virus to your computer.

Can a Wireless Keyboard Get Hacked and Also Get a Virus?

Similar to a wireless mouse, a keyboard can also get hacked and be used to send a virus to the computer. Similar to the mouse scenario, this tends to happen when the dongle being used on your computer does NOT require the keystrokes coming from the keyboard to be encrypted. In this case, the attacking dongle can mimic the same keystrokes, causing the other dongle to think that it received a command (such as a password) from its own keyboard. 

While a keyboard itself cannot be infected with a virus, it can be a way for an attacker to get into your computer and send a virus to it. Once that vulnerability has been taken advantage of, the hacker can do whatever they want.

Recommendations

Now that you know that it is possible for wireless keyboards and mice to get a virus, you know what to look out for and can shop and find the most secure wireless keyboards and mice, including some of the following: 

gizbuyerguidebestlogitechmouse
source: logitech

This wireless mouse is Bluetooth enabled, which means it has a standard of security, making it less likely to get a virus or be attacked. Some other benefits include its long battery life (two years) and its ergonomic design, which is more comfortable for resting your hand on for extended periods of time. 

This wireless mouse has a battery life with automatic power-saving when it’s not in use. It works on a variety of computers, and this unique-looking mouse can communicate with a computer from up to 33 feet away. 

gizbuyerguiderecommendedlogitechkeyboardandmouse
source: logitech

Even though they are wireless, this keyboard and mouse pair are full-sized, making doing work anywhere possible with minimal adjustment. They stay powered for three years before needing to be recharged. The keyboard also comes with hotkeys which make shortcuts to checking on things (such as battery life) quick and simple.   

This wireless keyboard is easy to set up and has a lithium battery that lasts for six months. The stainless-steel build means that it is sturdy but also offers quiet typing that won’t bother you or those around you. It is lightweight and easy to carry around from place to place, whether in the same building or on your travels. 

Conclusion

Wireless keyboards and mice communicate with their computers by sending radio frequency packets to a dongle that is plugged into the computer. If the vendor does not encrypt the information sent to the dongle (as happens sometimes), a nearby dongle can pick up on the keyboard strokes or mouse movements and send the same information to the dongle plugged into the hacker’s computer, leading them to gain access or send harmful information to your device.  

Sources: 

https://www.bastille.net/research/vulnerabilities/mousejack/technical-details

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