SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – Research suggests that smartphones with voice recognition features can be hacked using electronic signals if earphones with microphones are connected.
The Wireless Security Lab at the National Institute of Information Security in France published a thesis suggesting the hacking possibility in a recent issue of the journal ‘IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Capability’.
The results of the research were also announced at a seminar held in Paris this summer, but didn’t get much attention, only being mentioned on a few French websites. However, as American media specializing in IT discovered the results of the study, it came into the spotlight.
When connected to a smartphone, an earphone cable can function as an antenna, transferring electronic signals to the smartphone. If earphones with microphones are connected to a smartphone, and a strong electromagnetic wave with an audio signal is generated, it can be transferred to the smartphone, and the smartphone understands the signal as a voice command.
If hackers use devices that can generate electromagnetic waves in noisy places like pubs or airports, commanding smartphones nearby to dial caller paid services, damages could occur.
If hacking happens, it is not occurring because of a bug or flaws in the information system.
However, this doesn’t mean that we are all exposed to hacking. A smartphone would have to be set to receive voice commands when locked, and earphones with a microphone would have to be connected.
Besides, if an individual was using the smartphone or earphones, he/she would know right away if something abnormal was happening. Furthermore, digital assistants including Apple’s Siri and Google Now can identify user’s voices, making the possibility of hacking very low.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)