Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Corsair says K100 keyboard’s weird behavior is a bug, not a keylogger

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A hot potato: Some users are reporting a weird issue with their Corsair keyboards, which have started to behave like reverse keyloggers. Rather than silently logging keystrokes, chunks of text written days before suddenly appear again on the screen. It certainly is a bug, Corsair said, not a “secret” keylogging feature.

Corsair Gaming is having a bit of a privacy nightmare right now. Owners of the Corsair K100, an expensive mechanical keyboard aimed at gamers, comes equipped with several “extra” features but users are reporting that their peripherals have started to behave like a weirdly malfunctioning keylogging device.

The first issues with the K100 were reported on Corsair’s official forum in August, while the latest ones are just a few hours old. The very first affected user said their K100 keyboard “started randomly typing on its own” while the device was connected to a MacBook Pro. “It usually seems to type messages that I previously typed” on a gaming PC, the user said, and it wouldn’t stop until the keyboard was unplugged and then plugged back in.

Other users joined the thread, denouncing they had a very similar experience. One user said the K100 was replicating chunks of text previously written in a “very sensitive email” while the PC was in Safe Mode. Another person complained about the fact that their keyboard “wrote” more than 100 letters all by itself.

One user noted that they don’t use Corsair’s iCue gaming software to program the keyboard behavior, so the keylogging-like “feature” seems to be a hardware-related issue. Some customers feared they were hacked by unknown malicious software, but according to Corsair “there’s no hardware function on the keyboard that operates as a key logger.”

Like many other high-end keyboards, the K100 features the ability to create “macros” by recording inputs – but it’s a totally user-driven option, Corsair assured. “The macro function could be inadvertently switching on and recording keyboard, and potentially mouse, inputs,” a Corsair spokesperson said, and these macros were then being “triggered and reproducing inputs at a later time and misinterpreted as keylogging.”

The company said that they received just a “small number” of complaints compared to the “tens of thousands” of units sold to date. While still investigating the “precise nature” of the issue, Corsair recently released a new firmware update which seems to solve the keylogging issue – but users have lamented the fact that the update brought other issues as well.

Corsair said any affected user should contact the company’s support team and try to reset the K100 by unplugging it then holding down the Esc key for five seconds (while plugging it back in). “Corsair takes customer data privacy very seriously,” the spokesperson added, and even if a single user is impacted, they will “quickly work to resolve the issue.”

Numisteamone

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