[HOME AUTOMATION] When you can hack into a voice assistant with a simple laser

While voice assistants abound in homes, academics have demonstrated that it is possible to hack into them with a simple laser pointed at their microphones. In collaboration, researchers from the universities of Tokyo and Michigan have developed a system to control voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa from Amazon and Portal from Facebook. Plus, some smartphones may be remotely controlled. Then the researchers took control of these devices that can be manipulated by voice. This hacking can be done remotely and through a glass window since it is a laser. How does it work? The laser literally “disrupts” the microphone membrane. The latter considers the laser as a signal and responds to the demand. The plate called “diaphragm”, which is located inside the speakers, vibrates to the sound of the voice. The laser can reproduce this movement and convert it into electrical signals. The researchers listed the vulnerable devices and the majority react at 50 meters; particularly voice assistants while Iphone or Android devices do not react at more than 10 meters. Such actions may violate users’ privacy and could allow hackers to access sensitive data.