Researchers in Japan and in the US state of Michigan recently announced that they discovered a means of taking over Apple’s Siri, Google Home, or Amazon’s Alexa from hundreds of feet away, using lasers and flashing lights.
It sounds like sci-fi, but the microphone component of smart home devices apparently responds to electrical signals and as a result, the mic can process both sound and light.
“This opens up an entirely new class of vulnerabilities,” stated Kevin Fu, one of the researchers and a professor with the University of Michigan.
Another of the researchers responsible for this discovery, Daniel Genkin, is famous for his finding of the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws last year. These two flaws reside in nearly every computer across the world. After the findings were released, Intel shares dropped by a full 5%. What’s the fate of smart home device companies?
By shooting light commands at voice activated devices, the researchers could open garages, make online purchases, and more.
“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 all of the smart speakers registered the commands from 164 feet away”
The bottom line is that if you own a smart home device, store the device far from any windows. When you leave the house, close the curtains so that any potential hackers don’t see your smart home device, and your home, as a target.
For more on this trending story, visit The New York Times.