Is It Paranoia If Everything Really Is Listening To You?
Vishing, It’s The Cool New Thing To Do!
If you have always had a sneaking suspicion that Amazon’s and Google’s voice assistants are spying on you, you may well be right. Apart from the previous worries about practices the actual providers were engaged in, now you have to worry about hacked third party applications which leave the various devices in listening mode. A fairly simple hack was demonstrated by Security Research Labs which feeds the device a string of unpronounceable characters after a normal reply to a command which translates as silence to your ears but convinces the device it is still talking and therefore it continues to listen to your reply.
The hack can also be used to send malicious requests for passwords and other common phising techniques. As was pointed out to The Register apps can be checked and approved to be added to the online app store by Google or Amazon, and then modified with these hacks as there does not seem to be a review process in place to prevent this.
Google Home and Amazon Alexa can easily be hacked to eavesdrop on users or extract information by asking questions that appear to come from each smart speaker provider, according to researchers.