Researchers Have Found a Way to Manipulate Siri, Google Home, Alexa with Laser Beams

Voice Assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana are becoming smarter with every passing day. However, digital assistants are often criticized for privacy issues. Now researchers have discovered that Amazon’s Echo dot, Google Home, Siri can be hacked by using lasers, yes you heard it right, lasers!

Researchers based out of Tokyo and Michigan university claim that they can take control of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri with the help of laser light. The report published in the New York Times detailed how researchers manipulated Google Home into opening a garage door by staying at a distance of 230 feet to 350 feet away and focussing lasers with the help of a telephoto lens.

Microphones convert sound into electrical signals. The main discovery behind light commands is that in addition to sound, microphones also react to light aimed directly at them.

The researchers, who studied the light flaw for seven months, said they had discovered that the microphones in the 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.

This is what happens, the lasers trick the microphones into believing that they are hearing someones voice. The method can then be used for many things including buy stuff online, remotely unlock care or control all the smart appliances in your home. Thats not all, researchers tested the method on the iPhone XR, Samsung Galaxy S9, and Google Pixel 2 and succeeded. However, they had to be much closer to the device as opposed to Echo. Both Amazon and Google have acknowledged the issue and assured that they are working with researchers.

Do you feel smart speakers and digital assistants invade your privacy? Let us know in the comments below.

[via New York Times]

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