The Indian Wire » Software » A laser beam can hack your Amazon Echo

A laser beam can hack your Amazon Echo

The one thing that is going to rule the next decade is Smart Voice Assistants. Most people have started using smart assistance and they are depending on them for their work. The reason behind the popularity of voice assistants is that they are easy and convenient. Smart assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistance and Apple Siri can solve any problem, you just have to activate it by saying the keywords. People are using these assistants for searching for a direction, translating something in another language to playing songs and movies.

Recently, scientists discovered that these smart assistants could be hacked by a laser beam. In an experiment, scientists of the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications used laser beam to command voice assistants. The scientists encoded the laser beam with a command such as “Alexa! open the door” and sent it to the microphone of the assistant, The voice assistant responded to the laser beam. The scientists have explained it in a research paper. According to scientists, the laser light affected the microphone just like a wave of a voice command would affect.

They explained that the laser beam can work from a distance of 100 meters with the help of some cheap laser tech as long as there is no object to block the laser beam. The laser can unlock a door or start a car. The scientists suggested that people can avoid these attacks by adding or registering a voice in the assistant. The scientists said that this vulnerability in the system due to the design of the microphone and they are working on making a microphone that can not be affected by such laser beams.

Daniel Genkin, a paper co-author and assistant professor at the University of Michigan said that scientists have contacted Google, Apple,  Amazon, and other companies to address this issue. Spokespersons from Google and Amazon said that they are reviewing the paper closely.

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