Siri and Alexa Can Be Controlled by Voices Humans Cannot Hear

10 September, 2017, 08:30 | Author: Patsy Dennis
  • Alexa, Siri, Cortana vulnerable to "silent hacking"

DolphinAttack could be used to make the device visit a malicious website and download a virus, or it could allow an attacker to spy on the victims by initiating an outgoing video or phone call.

R&D has announced plans for an interactive audio drama for Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

The microphones listen to frequencies beyond human hearing to reinforce their ability to understand language, and separate it from surrounding noise.

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"They take a regular human voice and use it to modulate an ultrasound signal, much like the way music can be encoded onto radio waves".

The team claim to have validated the attack experimentally on 16 popular voice controllable systems and seven speech recognition systems.

WHILE voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa were created to make our mobile lives easier, hackers can turn it into a complete nightmare by using ultrasonic sounds to take command of your smart phone. Modifying a smartphone to issue such commands costs around $3. You'd also have to have your assistant activated, in the case of Siri or Google Assistant, and if an ultrasonic commanded activated, those systems would make a tone or reply back, alerting the user. They devised a way that hackers could use voice recordings of the device's owner to synthesize the opening voice command using pieces of other words. Siri, Google Assistant, Samsung S Voice and Alexa, across a multitude of devices, are all equally vulnerable. Hackers could use a phrase such as "he carries cake to the city", and slice up the phonemes to create the phrase "hey, Siri". The hacker could then perform a walk-by attack, gaining control of a device without physically touching it, altering the device settings, or installing any malware. Secondly, the device needs to be in a proximity of less than five to six feet.

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Furthermore, the team provided ways to prevent a DolphinAttack. However, that would mean users would have to manually open the voice recognition interface every time they wanted to use it.

The researchers recommend device manufacturers and developers should ensure that commands issued at frequencies that are impossible for humans to communicate in are ignored.

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