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'Surfing Attack' Hacks Siri, Google with Ultrasonic Waves

By The Source (Washington University in St. Louis)

February 28, 2020

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A multi-institutional collaboration led by Washington University in St. Louis (WUSL) researchers has demonstrated a "surfing attack" that uses ultrasonic waves to hijack voice-recognition systems on cellphones, including those used by Siri and Google.

Such waves can propagate through solid surfaces to activate these systems, and allow hackers to hear the phone's response with additional equipment.

WUSL's Ning Zhang and colleagues sent voice commands to cellphones on a table near the owner, using a microphone to communicate back and forth with the phone and control it remotely. A piezoelectric transducer converted electricity into ultrasonic waves, while a waveform generator produced the correct signals to command the phone.

Tests on 17 cellphone models showed that all but two were exploitable, and that the waves could propagate through metal, wood, glass, and plastic.

From The Source (Washington University in St. Louis)


Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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