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Researchers Reveal Inaudible Remote Cyber-Attacks on Voice Assistant Devices

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Once they have unauthorized access to a device, hackers can send inaudible action commands to reduce a device’s volume and prevent a voice assistant’s response from being heard by the user before proceeding with further attacks.

Credit: UTSA Today

Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) developed the Near-Ultrasound Inaudible Trojan (NUIT) to show how hackers can exploit the vulnerabilities of smart device microphones and voice assistants remotely and silently online.

The researchers showed that once hackers have gained unauthorized access to a device via malicious apps, websites, audio, or video, they can transmit inaudible action commands to lower the device’s volume so users cannot hear the voice assistant's response and commence additional attacks on other devices.

UTSA's Guenevere Chen said, "The vulnerability is the nonlinearity of the microphone design, which the manufacturer would need to address."

From University of Texas at San Antonio
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