Can reflections in eyeglasses actually leak info from Zoom calls? Here’s a study into it

Boffins at the University of Michigan in the US and Zhejiang University in China want to highlight how bespectacled video conferencing participants are inadvertently revealing sensitive on-screen information via reflections in their eyeglasses.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in remote work, video conferencing has become commonplace. The researchers argue the ensuing privacy and security issues deserve further attention, and they’ve been casting an eye on this unusual attack vector.

In a paper distributed via ArXiv, titled, “Private Eye: On the Limits of Textual Screen Peeking via Eyeglass Reflections in Video Conferencing,” researchers Yan Long, Chen Yan, Shilin Xiao, Shivan Prasad, Wenyuan Xu, and Kevin Fu describe how they analyzed optical emanations from video screens that have been reflected in the lenses of glasses.

“Our work explores and characterizes the viable threat models based on optical attacks using multiframe super resolution techniques on sequences of video frames,” the computer scientists explain in their paper.

“Our models and experimental results in a controlled lab setting show it is possible to reconstruct and recognize with over 75 percent accuracy on-screen texts that have heights as small as 10 mm with a 720p webcam.” That corresponds to 28 pt, a font size commonly used for headings and small headlines.

“The present-day 720p camera’s attack capability often maps to font sizes of 50-60 pixels with average laptops,” explained Yan Long, corresponding author and doctoral candidate at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in an email to The Register.

“Such font sizes can mostly be

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