Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them

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Gone Fishin'
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Shining a low-powered laser into these voice-activated systems allows attackers to inject commands of their choice from as far away as 360 feet (110m). Because voice-controlled systems often don’t require users to authenticate themselves, the attack can frequently be carried out without the need of a password or PIN. Even when the systems require authentication for certain actions, it may be feasible to brute force the PIN, since many devices don’t limit the number of guesses a user can make. Among other things, light-based commands can be sent from one building to another and penetrate glass when a vulnerable device is kept near a closed window.
 

danielravennest

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After you finish dropping to the floor, because a laser usually means a sniper is targeting you, wrap a sheet of opaque paper or plastic around your voice-activated device. It won't stop sound, but it will stop light. Or just move it out of view of any windows or mirrors.
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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Cortana used to have a setting you could turn on where it would only respond to your voice and no one else's, which would solved this problem. Unfortunately Microsoft removed it as part of the general gutting of Cortana spurred by user complaints.
 
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wrap a sheet of opaque paper or plastic around your voice-activated device. It won't stop sound, but it will stop light. Or just move it out of view of any windows or mirrors.
So the choices are, wrapping paper on the devices, which should look lovely, or restricted placement because a lot of people have windows all over. Why not just install blinds?
 

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Why are voice-activated devices even able to receive and interpret "light-based commands"? I can see why such a device might have a light-level sensor, the way like a phone does; but an actual receiver capable of parsing "signals"? That doesn't make any sense to me.
 

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Why are voice-activated devices even able to receive and interpret "light-based commands"? I can see why such a device might have a light-level sensor, the way like a phone does; but an actual receiver capable of parsing "signals"? That doesn't make any sense to me.
I'm interested in the How. I'm also surprised the MEMS sensor is not shielded better.
It would be crazy if the light was able to induce signals in the parts of the sensor that responds to sound pressure, but it sound like that's what happens.
 
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