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Voice-Activated Devices Are a Security Threat

Voice-Activated Devices Are a Security Threat

Researchers have warned that voice-activated smartphones are a big security risk.

An expert at security firm AVG suggested that some voice-activated systems responded just as well to fake voices as they did to that of the owner.

AVG believe clever fraudsters could subvert this to send bogus messages or compromise gadgets in the future.

The problems with voice-activated systems were found by Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at AVG, who managed to turn on and control a smart TV using a synthesised voice. He said the attack worked, because the gadget did nothing to check who was speaking.

Voice activated functions on Apple and Android smartphones were also vulnerable to the attack.

Mr Ben-Itzhak said in a blog post: "Utilising voice activation technology in the Internet of Things without authenticating the source of the voice is like leaving your computer without a password, everyone can use it and send commands."

However, independent security expert Graham Cluley has said there was no doubt that voice-activated systems could be more secure.

He added: "It would obviously be preferable if devices were to learn our voices, and ask for some form of authentication if they determined that an unauthorised user might be giving commands.

"If malware can get on an Android device to speak a command and order the Android to send an unauthorised email, it could just as easily do that without using speech."


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