Technology: Researchers use laser to hack voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo - - PressFrom - US
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Technology Researchers use laser to hack voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo

19:30  08 november  2019
19:30  08 november  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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The researchers used a laser beam from outside of a house to activate smart devices , including unlocking doors. Please read the rules before joining the discussion. U-M researchers use laser to hack voice - activated devices like Amazon Echo .

They can now use lasers to silently "speak" to any computer that receives voice commands—including smartphones, Amazon Echo speakers When they used a 60 milliwatt laser to "speak" commands to 16 different smart speakers, smartphones, and other voice activated devices , they found that almost

A red laser slices through the air, landing on the top of an Amazon Echo sitting inside a house. Suddenly, the garage door opens, a burglar slides in, uses another laser to have the Echo start the car and drives off.

In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Amazon Echo and Echo Plus devices, behind, sit near illuminated Echo Button devices during an event announcing several new Amazon products by the company in Seattle. Users of Amazon's Alexa digital assistant can now request that recordings of their voice commands delete automatically.© Elaine Thompson, AP In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Amazon Echo and Echo Plus devices, behind, sit near illuminated Echo Button devices during an event announcing several new Amazon products by the company in Seattle. Users of Amazon's Alexa digital assistant can now request that recordings of their voice commands delete automatically.

Sound far-fetched? It's not anymore.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have used laser lights to exploit a wide variety of voice-activated devices, giving them access to everything from thermostats to garage door openers to front door locks. The researchers have communicated their findings to Amazon, Google and Apple, which are studying the research.

Amazon, Google failed to address potential for eavesdropping

  Amazon, Google failed to address potential for eavesdropping Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices continue to be vulnerable to security issues that were first discovered more than a year ago.Amazon's Alexa and Google Home's smart assistant were vulnerable to a security issue that could have allowed hackers to eavesdrop on people without their knowledge or entice users to hand over sensitive information, researchers say.

Since smart speakers like the Amazon Echo first began to appear in homes across the world, the He points out that the devices primarily accept only voice input and cloud communications via an Hence the Tencent researchers ' clever use of Amazon 's Echo -to- Echo communications instead.

Digital voice assistants like Amazon 's Alexa have become household staples. A list of devices that the researchers tested and said are vulnerable to such light commands includes Google Home, Google Nest Cam IQ, multiple Amazon Echo , Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices , Facebook's Portal Mini

Working with researchers from the University of Electro-Communications in Japan, U-M's researchers published a paper and a web site detailing how it works. There are also videos showing it in action.

The researchers discovered the microphones in the smart devices would respond to light as if it were sound. Inside each microphone is a small plate called a diaphragm that moves when sound hits it. Using focused light, like lasers or even a focused flashlight, they were able to access the system.

This can create security issues, because while most of these devices are locked inside houses, light can travel through windows. It can easily travel long distances, limiting the attacker only in the ability to focus and aim the laser beam.

Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants

  Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. But a group of researchers determined they can also command them by shining a laser at smart speakers and other gadgets that house virtual helpers such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant.Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. But a group of researchers determined they can also command them by shining a laser at smart speakers and other gadgets that house virtual helpers such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant.

Voice - activated digital assistants can be remotely hijacked by lasers as far as 350 feet away and Using a telephoto lens to focus the laser , they were able to shanghai devices in other buildings – a Even with a low-power five-milliwatt laser , a Google Home and early-model Amazon Echo could be

Researchers hacked into Echo , Google Home through a laser (Bloomberg). Researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of According to the researchers , the experiment was conducted on Google Home, Google Nest Cam IQ, multiple Amazon Echo , Echo Dot, and Echo

Researchers worked in a 110-meter long hallway and got a voice-activated system to respond. All the equipment needed to hack the system was available on Amazon.

The  attack can be mounted using a simple laser pointer, a laser driver and a sound amplifier, researchers said on the website.  A telephoto lens can be used to focus the laser for long range attacks.

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So how does it work?

"Microphones convert sound into electrical signals," the research says. "The main discovery behind light commands is that in addition to sound, microphones also react to light aimed directly at them. Thus, by modulating an electrical signal in the intensity of a light beam, attackers can trick microphones into producing electrical signals as if they are receiving genuine audio."

Your Amazon Echo or Google Home could be fooled by a laser ‘speaking’ words

  Your Amazon Echo or Google Home could be fooled by a laser ‘speaking’ words Hey Google, Alexa, Siri: pew pew pewThe researchers found that by changing a laser’s intensity to a specific frequency and pointing the laser directly at a smart speaker’s microphone, they could make the microphone interpret the laser as if it were sound, letting them issue a command to the voice assistant powering the device. And it seems like practically every voice assistant may be vulnerable to this vector of attack, as the researchers say they have tested this on Google Home devices, Amazon Alexa devices, and Facebook’s Portal Mini, as well as some smartphones including an iPhone XR, a sixth-generation iPad, a Samsung Galaxy S9, and a Google Pixel 2.

To make it even more stealthy, a hacker could use an infrared laser , which would be invisible to the naked eye. The researchers are working towards Researchers said they tested the attack with a variety of devices that use voice assistants, including the Google Nest Cam IQ, Amazon Echo

Researchers have revealed how they could ' hack ' smart devices like Amazon 's Echo , Google The techniques used by the researchers reveal new ways of exploiting security vulnerabilities in these systems, reported CNN. Usually one has to talk to a voice assistant to carry out the command. The list of devices , which the researchers were able to exploit with their laser technique included

In other words, the microphone reacts to the intensity of the laser light the same way it reacts to changes in pressure from sound waves.

So, a hacker can record their voice issuing a command, use a laser modulator to transform it into laser pulses and send it into a device, which then operates just like someone was talking to it.

So how do you stop it?

The most obvious way is to make sure your voice-activated devices are not in sight of a window. The devices can also be placed behind something, such as a bookcase, TV or picture. That's because while light waves don't, sound waves easily go around objects — meaning the device would still respond to a voice, said Benjamin Cyr, one of the researchers at U-M.

What won't work is simply placing tape over the microphone. The researchers tested several devices with dirt shields over the microphone spot and the laser still worked.

There's a bigger lesson here as well, said Daniel Genkin, another of the researchers.

"We need to do security by design," he said, saying hackers are looking to exploit any vulnerability they can find.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Researchers use laser to hack voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo

Your Amazon Echo or Google Home could be fooled by a laser ‘speaking’ words .
Hey Google, Alexa, Siri: pew pew pewThe researchers found that by changing a laser’s intensity to a specific frequency and pointing the laser directly at a smart speaker’s microphone, they could make the microphone interpret the laser as if it were sound, letting them issue a command to the voice assistant powering the device. And it seems like practically every voice assistant may be vulnerable to this vector of attack, as the researchers say they have tested this on Google Home devices, Amazon Alexa devices, and Facebook’s Portal Mini, as well as some smartphones including an iPhone XR, a sixth-generation iPad, a Samsung Galaxy S9, and a Google Pixel 2.

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