How Siri, Google Assistant, And Alexa Are Prone To Hackin
You might think that powerful applications such as Siri and Google Assistant are developed by some of the best developers around the world who are constantly researching their way into writing better code for tomorrow and hence are invincible to the malicious attacks of rest of the world.
Truth is…“Even the strongest chain has a weak link”
With enough brainpower, anything is possible. In the world of computer science, you just have to be creative.
Everyone though or at least, the majority still thinks that the applications developed by tech giants such as Apple and Google are invincible to hacking. That was before the “Dolphin Attack” was discovered.
A group of researchers at Zhejiang University, China have found a way to sabotage virtual smartphone assistants. In this type of attack, frequencies of 20k hertz are sent to smartphones.
The microphones have the ability to capture sound waves up to 20,000 hertz (some of them even above this gigantic scale). Humans cannot hear them but these are sensed by microphones. Researchers found a clever way of converting ordinary human sound waves into high-frequency waves and sent them to smartphones.
The smartphones were tricked into believing that those specific commands were issued by humans. The scariest aspect of dolphin attack was that it worked equally effective on all virtual assistants. These include Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, and devices like Macbook, iPad and Audi Q3. The attack didn’t care which assistant or which device it was. It viciously made the operating system of iOS and Android, follow up on desirous tasks. The researchers successfully commandeered the completion of tasks such as “open dolphinattack.com” or “open a back door”
Conditions in Which Dolphin Attack Works
Dolphin attack is pure destruction in the hands of hackers, but thankfully, there are still some conditions which need to be fulfilled before the commencement of dolphin attack could occur.
In case of Siri and Google Assistant, the assistant needs to be activated. If it is not activated, no matter how many commands you give, the result would be nil.
- The targeted smartphone must be in the range of about 6 feet, from the wave generator. If it is too far than the wave producing source, the attack won’t take place.
Those techie boys of Apple and Google are not noobs. They have put necessary precautions inside their smartphones. To successfully initiate the dolphin attack, you would have to see the closeness of range, the unlocking of smartphone and an activated voice assistant – The combination of all three of these things being activated in a very rare scenario but if a hacker is determined to sabotage your phone – then be prepared for anything.
One simple solution proposed by researchers is that the developers of Apple and Android should both program their operating systems in such a way that wave frequencies of more than 20,000 hertz should be ignored.
Until such a solution comes into existence, you can always turn off your voice assistants as a precautionary measure.