A recent news item reported that ultrasonic waves could actually activate Siri. This means the hacker can take pictures, provide commands and read the contents of a text. The phone owner may even be unaware of this.
With ultrasonic waves, you can deliver even a single command through the air to a mobile. Cell phone attacks are not old and are growing by the minute. The waves are so powerful that they can permeate through solid surfaces to reach voice recognition systems – all this – with just the addition of a little bit of hardware. Added research conducted by St. Louis’s Washington University confirmed that the waves are a threat to mobile phone security.
Ultrasonic waves cannot be heard by humans, but these can be easily detected by microphones. In other words, incoming sound waves are interpreted differently by cell phones – as if someone was giving it a command.
A couple of experiments were performed by the researchers, where they attached a piezoelectric transducer or PZT to convert electricity into ultrasonic waves. A waveform generator was also hidden under the table
Thereafter the assistive technology was asked to turn the volume levels of the phone to about 3 – a practically inaudible sound, say in a proper office environment
Tests were conducted to retrieve passcodes, make fake calls and even message reading commands were issued
The results were conclusive that the virtual assistant could actually obey every command issued to it
: 17 phone models including, Moto, Galaxy, and iPhone’s, were tested
Wrapping the phone in a case wasn’t sufficient enough to ward off ultrasonic waves
It was suggested that the assistant should be able to differentiate between a genuine human voice and the reception from the waves
Another suggestion was to suppress the ultrasound by changing the layout of the microphone across the mobile
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