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Flaw In the Amazon Echo; Allows Hackers to Listen In To Users’ Conversations

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Security researchers from the Chinese tech giant Tencent as
of late discovered a rather serious vulnerability in Amazon Echo. The
vulnerability is termed serious on the grounds that it enables programmers to
furtively tune in to users’ conversations without their knowledge.
The researchers in a presentation which was given at the DEF
CON security conference, named ‘ Breaking Smart Speakers: We are Listening to you,’
and precisely explained as to how they could assemble a doctored Echo speaker
and utilize that to gain access to other Echo devices.
‘After several
months of research, we successfully break the Amazon Echo by using multiple
vulnerabilities in the Amazon Echo system, and [achieve] remote eavesdropping.
When the attack [succeeds], we can control Amazon Echo for eavesdropping and
send the voice data through network to the attacker.’
Researchers
utilized Amazon’s Home Audio Daemon, which the device uses to communicate with
other Echo devices on a similar Wireless connection, to ultimately control the
users’ speakers. Through which they could quietly record conversations or even
play random sounds.

The attack
though, is the first one that the researchers have distinguished a noteworthy
security defect in a well-known smart speaker such as the Amazon Echo. The
researchers have since informed Amazon of this security imperfection and the
firm said it issued a software patch to the users’ in July. They likewise note
that it requires access to a physical Echo device.

In any case,
Amazon and the researchers both warn that the technique distinguished is
extremely modern and in all probability is easy for any average hacker to carry
out.
‘Customers do not
need to take any action as their devices have been automatically updated with
security fixes,’
says an
Amazon spokesperson.
Yet, some
have brought up that the attack could also be carried out in regions where
there are multiple Echo devices being utilized on the same network, the
simplest example of it are the Hotels or Restaurants.
Nonetheless
prior this year, researchers from University of California, Berkeley too
recognized a defect where hackers could not only control prominent voice
assistants such as, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant but could also slip
indiscernible voice commands into audio recordings which could further direct a
voice assistant to do a wide range of things, that range from taking pictures
to launching websites and making phone calls.



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