Using Light Beams to Control Google, Apple, Amazon Assistants
A team of researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Electro-Communications in Japan has developed a method for remotely sending rogue voice commands to voice-controlled (VC) devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo using laser beams.
The researchers discovered that because the microphones in certain VC devices are capable of converting light to sound, they could get the devices to interpret the light from a laser beam as a voice command under certain conditions. These “Light Commands,” were successfully tested on a number of devices running the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri virtual assistant software. On certain devices, the attacks were successful from as far as 110 meters.
While the researchers were able to use Light Commands to get devices to perform actions like opening the garage door, the real-world implications of this attack technique are rather limited. This is because the attacks are difficult to carry out and require a great number of conditions, including rather unlikely ones, to be met.