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الرئيسيةTop NewsThis flaw can control your home among the millions of devices equipped...

This flaw can control your home among the millions of devices equipped with a voice assistant

Smart assistants are part of the daily lives of millions of users. Unfortunately, researchers have discovered a new flaw that, in the wrong hands, could give malicious hackers more power.

Danger of inaudible voice commands

A team of experts from the Universities of Texas and Colorado has developed a new attack vector, dubbed the “Ultrasound Inaudible Trojan” (NUIT), that can launch ultrasonic commands (and thus inaudible to the human ear) to all of these assistants. These more discreet commands can, for example, ask an assistant to open the front door if an attached latch is fitted, or deactivate alarms. Sometimes it is possible to send confidential data or even open malware-laden websites.

Two scenarios are possible. In the first of these scenarios, the smartphone is the source and target of the attack. A video played from the phone sends an ultrasound message that triggers the assistant. In the second case, it is a connected speaker, which is aimed from an external loudspeaker. An inaudible command can be sent through a website, a YouTube video, a smart TV, in short, anything through a speaker. ” This can also happen on Zoom during a meeting “Warns Guenevere Sen of the University of Texas. ” If someone turns off the squelch [dans Zoom]The attack signal will be sent to hack the phone next to your computer “.

However, two conditions are necessary for the hack to succeed: the volume of the loudspeaker transmitting the attack is at a certain level, and the malicious command lasts less than 0.77 seconds. Researchers tested 17 popular devices equipped with a connected assistant, and all of them fell victim to this attack. All except Siri, which requires imitating or “stealing” the victim’s voice to accept voice commands.

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© University of Texas
© University of Texas

If the device has such protection, it is highly recommended to enable it. Otherwise, monitor the activity indicators for the microphone that appear on the screens of iPhones and Android smartphones and make sure that the assistant is not activated behind his back. It is also possible to use earphones or headphones to block the loudspeakers from broadcasting ultrasonic commands. Smartphones have settings to disable assistants completely.

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