A group of French researchers have discovered they can use radio waves to silently trigger voice commands on any Android phone or iPhone that has simultaneously enabled Google Now or Siri and plugged headphones with microphone. According to Wired, the researchers’ work, which received little notice outside of a few French websites when it was presented at the Hack in Paris conference over the summer, uses a relatively simple collection of equipment: It generates its electromagnetic waves with a laptop running the open-source software GNU Radio, a USRP software-defined radio, an amplifier and an antenna. In its smallest form, which the researchers say could fit inside a backpack, the setup has a range of around 6.5’. In a more powerful form that requires larger batteries and could only practically fit inside a car or van, the researchers say they could extend the attack’s range to more than 16’. The researchers’ hack works on phones that have microphone-enabled headphones or earbuds plugged into them.
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