Researchers Show They Can Hack Your Smart Speaker Just by Shining Lasers.
Ø All right welcome back everyone so today we have an article on wired.com titled hackers can use lasers to speak to your Amazon Echo or a Google home by sending laser power to light commands to a smart assistant researchers could force it to unlock cars open garage doors and more which is you know absolutely scary because they can even do this through a window all they have to do is shine.
Ø The laser through the window shining at your device you know modulate laser a certain way so that way kind of imitates a voice and if they shine it into the you know into the microphone or whatever it processes that as an audible signal somehow so basically in this article it says that smart speakers can be activated through lasers and if the laser is modulated properly it can speak to the device which researchers have discovered the positioning doesn't need to be super precise in some instances.
Ø They just flooded the device with light and I'm pretty sure that mic holes like the little holes that these devices use for microphones those mics aren't too difficult to hit with lasers at least from a more normal distance they actually tested how far they could get the device to respond with lasers and you would be surprised from a distance of over 300 feet they were actually able to get it to respond the article actually says that they tested different power levels including a 5 milliamp laser which is the usual for consumer laser pointers and found that the Google home and first-gen echo plus responded at a distance of over 300 feet like 361 or something .
Ø In order to be exact you can read the article for yourself just to make sure but that's kind of scary I mean 300 feet all you need is a consumer-grade laser pointer and you can basically, take full control of a Google home and first-gen echo plus you know assuming that you can modulate the you know intensity or frequency of the laser properly so that it imitates an audible signal that's kind of scary 300 feet away is getaway guys that's plenty far away from the window anyway so hackers can control your device from a distance outside your home through a window with a laser so that's obviously the big concern.
Ø So if there's one thing that you can probably do to prevent this if you're paranoid or just or you have some reason to be afraid of this the best thing you can probably do is simply move the device away from a window that would ensure that you know no one can really shine a laser through a window and activate your device and cause all kinds of chaos or whatever because if it's in a room with no windows or at least in an area of a room where no windows can see it or no lasers can activate it then basically they got to be inside the room in order for them to activate it laser or not it also says that they tested infrared lasers which are invisible to the naked eye and found that they work as well, unfortunately, they did not test them at far distances over fear of burning or blinding someone but I'm not entirely sure why they couldn't just find like a long hallway or you know done it at the middle of night outside when no one was around or something but apparently, infrared lasers work too.
Ø And they're completely invisible so that definitely causes for concern the speakers tend to respond audibly but the lasers can be used to turn down the volume so for the people that were thinking than to themselves well if someone activated my device it would say something and then that's obviously how I would know or I would just notice that a laser is being beamed through my window, first of all, they can do it when you're not home so that's concern number one but number two the laser if it's modulated properly can actually just tell the device to turn down the volume or mute itself and then they can take full control over it the researchers actually don't know how the hacks work.
Ø They have assumptions and educated guesses as to how it works but they don't have a straightforward answer but this is what the article says but at least two different physical mechanisms might be producing the vibrations that make the light commands possible says Paul Horowitz a professor emeritus of physics and electrical engineering at Harvard and the co-author of the art of electronics first a pulse of laser light would heat up the microphones diaphragm which would expand the air around it and create a bump in pressure just as sound alternately Horowitz posits that if the components of the target devices aren't fully opaque the lasers light may get past the microphone and directly hit the electronic chip and interprets its vibrations into an electric and into an electrical signal.
Ø Horowitz says this could result in the same photovoltaic effect that occurs in diodes and solar cells and at the ends of fiber-optic cables turning light into electricity or electrical signals he says this could easily cause the laser to be processed as a voice command but again this is basically just in most educated guesses they're not entirely sure how this hack works all they really know is that it works and that people should know that now there are a few ways to prevent this hack which I've said throughout the video one way is that I think you need to shine light into the microphone so a lot of these devices have like a little hole for the microphone so if you just cover that hole more than likely this hack probably won't work as long as if it blocks light if it's fully opaque keeping your device away from the window is obviously another thing you could do.
Ø If it's away from the window then nobody outside can shine a laser at it and activate it from 300 feet away or something ridiculous like that they would have to be in the room in order to shine the laser and at that point I mean you've got other problems if if people are in your room are people that you did not invite are in your room without you even knowing and then the other thing you could probably probably do if you're completely paranoid is put some kind of cover over your device that that lets it still pick up sound but does not let sound .through so for example like a lot of microphones have like pop filters or like you know little things to like block all of the noise from wind or something like that that would probably block the light of a laser which might render this trick useless I'm not entirely sure I'm not a scientist or anything but seeing that they need to shine light into the diaphragm or whatever just into the microphone in general if you covered the microphone it obviously wouldn't work or a more than likely wouldn't work I shouldn't say obviously because like I said I'm not sure but it more than likely wouldn't work so like you know if put a if you put a sock over a microphone the microphone still works more or less so if you're really paranoid you could probably put a sock on your Amazon echo or something and that'll probably stop light from shining into the microphone but it'll probably still be able to pick up your voice so if you're really paranoid you can always do that anyway that's really all I have for today.