Researchers Hack Smart Speakers with Lasers

Hackers can hijack your Google Home or Amazon Echo with freakin' laser beams

But whether or not the NSA is eavesdropping while you yell at Alex Trebek may be just the beginning of our problems, as researchers in Japan and the University of MI have figured out how to hack Google Home, Amazon Alex, and Apple Siri devices "from hundreds of feet away" using laser pointers and flashlights. It turns out that's not the case, thanks to a new hack that uses laser beams to remotely interact with smart speakers.

The research paper "Light Commands: Laser-Based Audio InjectionAttacks on Voice-Controllable Systems" delivers the full technical analysis if you'd like to dive into it, but the short version, explained at lightcommands.com, "is that in addition to sound, microphones also react to light aimed directly at them".

Criminals could also use the hack to open vehicle doors, change the settings on a thermostat or make purchases online, according to the research from Japan and the University of MI.

Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. Any device with a microphone and running voice-control software could virtually be taken over with a laser beam modulated by a voice signal. Specifically, you can actually give smart devices commands using light.

In addition to the smart speakers, the researchers tested this method on the iPhone XR, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2 - they had to be much closer to take control of these devices. Users will also see the light reflecting off the speaker, and hear the audio feedback when the speaker activates.

Now playing: Watch this: Here's what Amazon revealed about Alexa privacy to a. It requires specialised equipment, like a laser pointer, laser driver, sound amplifier, a telephoto lens, and more. That's not just because the companies hosting your data might do something untoward - it may be possible to exploit these devices to steal data or access connected smart home platforms.


Smart speakers have always been linked to privacy issues and hacking concerns, but researchers discovered an unexpected vulnerability - lasers.

While Google Home is quickly expanding its library of commands, the reality is that Alexa remains the most robust digital assistant when it comes to smart speakers.

Gekin said he contacted Google, Apple, Amazon and other companies to address the security issue. The method only worked on the mobile devices from a maximum distance of 16 to 65 feet.

Researchers claim that the microphones need to be completely redesigned to remedy the problem, and covering the microphone in do-it-yourself ways will not protect users from malicious command injections. "We note that despite its low 5 mW power and windy conditions (which caused some beam wobbling due to laser movement), the laser beam successfully injected the voice command while penetrating a closed double-pane glass window", the paper says. Apple declined to comment.

Apple didn't offer comment, while Amazon, Ford and Tesla didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Related News:



Most liked

President Trump planning to attend Alabama-LSU game this weekend
Alabama, however, might be more friendly to Trump, having put him in the White House by 28 percentage points, notes The Hill . He hosted the Crimson Tide at the White House later that year to congratulate them on their 26-23 win over Georgia.

Trump in Kentucky to rally support ahead of close governor's race
Vice President Joe Biden , a top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential contender , so as to help his re-election campaign. Trump was alleged to have abused power by using a military aid to pressure Zelensky into investigating former U.S.

Macron, Xi to agree 'irreversibility' of Paris climate agreement
Feeney, a lifelong Broad Channel resident, said he supported Trump and that climate change was not a major concern for him. Pompeo said United States net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 "even as our economy grew over 19%".

Apple Commits $2.5 Billion Towards Tackling California Housing Crisis
Apple plans on contributing to change the factors affecting homelessness and to come up with ways to prevent it in the future. The news follows a recent announcement that Facebook is pledging $ 1 billion tackle California's housing crisis.

Martin Scorsese Stands By Assessment That Marvel Movies Are Not Real Cinema
In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, 'Todd, can you start working on a sequel? It's a chicken-and-egg issue. Despite his praises for " Joker ", he stated that superhero films are still in a different category.

Congolese fighter against Ebola killed in house attack
Violence against health care workers and Ebola treatment facilities has hampered the outbreak of control of the epidemic. The unidentified attackers got into his home at Lwemba, killed him, wounded his wife and burned down their house, Gen.

Nationals' Suzuki catches ire from fans for wearing MAGA hat
Trump did not mention Rendon or Doolittle or any of the other half-a-dozen absent players during his remarks recounting the team's exploits.

Google Services May Return To Huawei Soon; Trade Deal Closer To Completion
It is also not clear whether Google would get the license. "The meeting place, to me, is going to be very easy". However, not all companies will be allowed to trade with Huawei.

Turkey Reportedly Captures Dead Daesh Leader’s Sister, Calls It ‘Intelligence Gold Mine’
Baghdadi killed himself last month when cornered in a tunnel during a raid by United States special forces in northwestern Syria. The adults are being interrogated, the official said. "This kind of thing is an intelligence gold mine".

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs
As stocks have climbed, a closely watched signal of recession risk in the bond market also has eased up. The S&P 500 finished 0.4% higher at 3,078 points, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.6% to 8,433 points.

Labour's Lindsay Hoyle chosen to replace Bercow as UK Commons speaker
The victor of Monday's contest will replace John Bercow , who stepped down last week after a decade in the job. Here's the timetable for today's speaker's vote - as eight contenders compete for the Parliamentary hot seat.

Launches with nine originals across more than 100 countries and regions
In terms of functionality, the service works well - it's integrated into the existing Apple TV app, so there's no surprises there. Shoppers who purchase new iPhone , iPad , Apple TV , iPod contact or Mac can acknowledge one 12 months of Apple TV + for nothing.

Indian capital on high alert as toxic smog envelops city
This was a considerable improvement from Sunday's 494 AQI reading, which was the worst air day in Delhi since 2016. The restrictions will also not apply to vehicles being driven by women alone and those with all female occupants.

Man remains in custody over death of 11-year-old boy
A MAJOR Garda investigation is underway after the body of a boy was discovered in a house in Limerick City tonight. The house where the discovery was made has now been sealed off by Gardaí ahead of a technical and forensic inquiry.

How black businessmen beat racist real estate laws — The Banker trailer
To do it, they sought help from a working class white guy by the name of Matt Steiner ( Nicholas Hoult , of X-Men fame). The drama opens theatrically December 6, with a debut on Apple's just-launched streaming platform expected in January.