Unplug your headphones now from your iPhone or Android smartphone. Hackers can talk to Siri or Google Now without your knowledge.
French scientists revealed a new threat to smartphone users that is ingenious and has nothing to do with malware. The hackers use radio waves to send commands to Siri and Google Now on smartphones. This works when a headphone or earbuds cable with microphone is plugged into the phone.
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The attack uses the cable of the headphone as antenna to induce electric signals that Siri understands as voice commands.
The hackers can control Siri and Google Now from the distance of 16 feet without the owner hearing anything. The hackers can for instance have Siri navigate to a certain web site and have malware installed via the page.
On the iPhone, this attack works especially good as Siri is enabled by default on the lock screen. To protect yourself from this hacking technique it is adviced that you disable Siri from the lock screen (see instructions below). Google Now is usually not enabled on a locked phone.
The ANSSI researchers have published the details of the silent smartphone attack in a paper on IEEE.
Wired has published a video showing how Google Now is used to navigate a smartphone browser to a web site.
This technique has the coolness for a Hollywood movie. When all methods fail to hack into the villain's smartphone, Luther Stickell from the Mission Impossible team pulls out a high power radio wave antenna to issue silent voice commands to get the information they need to save the world. See it in Mission Impossible 6.
How to disable Siri from the locked screen:
Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock.
Tap the Siri On/Off slider
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Set Allow Access When Locked to Off.