Is the Phantom Keystroker Menacing Your Computer?

Is the Phantom Keystroker Menacing Your Computer?

The Phantom Keystroker is a USB-driven prank that will have your victim thinking his or her computer has come to life. [Image shared by Pirillo Picks]

Is the Phantom Keystroker menacing your neighborhood’s Internet cafes, office buildings, libraries, and other places where a computer’s USB drive is left bare for all the world to see? If not, why not? To answer that question, I suppose we need to define what a Phantom Keystroker is. I can tell you that it’s not a guy decked out in nothing but a pink bathrobe and a Lucha Libre mask who goes around fondling keyboards in a suggestive, but fairly quiet, manner if that’s what you were worried about.

Oh. You weren’t worried about that? It’s just me, then? Awkward…

Let’s try and look at it this way, then. What would you do if you logged into your computer one day and found it talking back to you? No, not like Florence from The Jeffersons, but… well, okay, sort of like that, but with less sass and more of a “Hey, I’m alive. Please recognize me!” heavy, affirmation of existence kind of a thing going on, Which of the following responses would be the closest to your initial reaction?:

  • Neat! My computer is sentient and we can be best friends now! Forever!
  • Ack! Unplug! Unplug!
  • If I’m going crazy, does it happen all at once or is it a long, leisurely descent into the oblivion of madness?
  • Try turning it off and on again.
  • Plotting revenge on the office prankster; you may not know how he or she is behind this, but you’ve learned to read the signs.

If you selected the last one, then you’re more level-headed than most people (or you’re dead inside from being the butt of too many practical jokes and you will have your vengeance, muah-hah-hah-hah).

Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hard Drives of Men? The Phantom Keystroker Knows!

Actually, the Phantom Keystroker has no idea what’s on your (or anyone’s) hard drive, but it’s fun to make people think so. This little device (as seen being held forth by a very mischievous Chris Pirillo, above) is actually just the sort of thing an office prankster (or those who would have their revenge on an office prankster) would employ to catch their marks off guard. Here’s how it works:

  • Attach this evil prank device to a USB port on your victim’s computer; it makes random mouse movements and types out odd garbage text and phrases.
  • Switches on side let you choose between keyboard garbage typing, caps lock toggle, annoying mouse movements, or all three.
  • Adjustment dial sets the duration between annoying “events.”
  • Works on any OS (caps lock toggle does not work on the Mac. May not work on some Linux systems depending on configuration).

Sound like fun? Get your own Phantom Keystroker and be the bane of your officemates’ existence today!

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Our resident "Bob" (pictured here through the lens of photographer Jason DeFillippo) is in love with a woman who talks to animals. He has a fondness for belting out songs about seafaring and whiskey (arguably inappropriate in most social situations). He's arm-wrestled robots and won. He was born in a lighthouse on the storm-tossed shores of an island that has since been washed away and forgotten, so he's technically a citizen of nowhere. He's never killed in anger. He once underwent therapy for having an alien in his face, but he assures us that he's now feeling "much better." Fogarty also claims that he was once marooned along a tiny archipelago and survived for months using only his wits and a machete, but we find that a little hard to believe.