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Hackers use radio waves to silently control Apple's Siri, Android's Google Now

Hackers use radio waves to silently control Apple's Siri, Android's Google Now

By Neil Hughes for Apple Insider

A newly spotlighted hack utilizes an iPhone or Android handset — with headphones plugged in — to remotely and silently access the smartphone's built-in voice controls, potentially unbeknownst to the user.

Researchers from French government agency ANSSI found they were able to control Apple's Siri or Android's Google Now from as far as 16 feet away, according to Wired. The hack is accomplished by using a radio transmitter to tap into a pair of headphones with integrated microphone plugged into the mobile device, using the headphone cable as an antenna.

Headphone cables make decent radio antennas, as evidenced by Apple's use of them to enable FM radio reception on its iPod nano. The team at ANSSI found they can exploit this and trick an iPhone or Android device into believing the audio commands are coming from the connected microphone.

"Without speaking a word, a hacker could use that radio attack to tell Siri or Google Now to make calls and send texts, dial the hacker's number to turn the phone into an eavesdropping device, send the phone's browser to a malware site, or send spam and phishing messages via email, Facebook, or Twitter," Wired explained.

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