France – A new research performed by the French Network and Information Security Agency (ANSSI), discovered that Siri and Google Now, are susceptible to take orders from any hacker, making your commands less personal and dangerous. The findings were published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

“While it’s worth noting it takes a special set of circumstances to pull off the hack, the idea of someone secretly ordering your phone to open a website, eavesdropping on your conversations or sending text messages is terrifying.” ABC News reported.

Siri on Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch lets you use your voice to send messages, make calls, set reminders, and more. Photo: Apple

How is it possible?

According to an ANSSI release, when a pair of microphone-enabled headphones is plugged into a smartphone, which is able to run Siri or Google Now, the hackers are capable of using the headphone cord as a radiating wire. So, a hacker using a laptop, can then use an open source radio software, and amplifier and an antenna to transmit radios waves triggering voice commands.

These voice commands can be picked up by the headphone wire plugged into the hacked phone, and then releasing them on it, the phone takes it as voice commands.

“The possibility of inducing parasitic signals on the audio front-end of voice-command-capable devices could raise critical security impacts,” wrote José Lopes Esteves and Chaouki Kasmi, both French researchers, in a paper published by the IEEE

As Vincent Strubel explained “the sky is the limit here, everything you can do through the voice interface you can do remotely and discreetly through electromagnetic waves.” Strubel is the Director of the research group at ANSSI.

Several solutions

Apple and Google have not made any comments on the report. However, the French researchers also discovered that users could protect their privacy with Siri and Google Now by disabling their access from the lock screen.

The researchers also suggested to Apple and Google to improve the shield on their headphone cords, as this would force hackers to use stronger radio signals, making the illegal act more difficult. Another solution provided by ANSSI is the addition of an electromagnetic sensor in the phone to avoid intruders.

In addition, ANSSI researchers suggested both companies to let users create personal wake words, in order to launch their virtual personal assistants.

Source: Wired