08:08 GMT +324 February 2019
Listen Live
    Laptop with headphones

    Don't Own an IoT Device? No Worries, Your Headphones Can be Hacked Instead

    © Photo : Pixabay
    Get short URL

    A team of researchers in Israel have detected new malware that could allow hackers to turn headphones plugged into a computer into a microphone and record conversations.

    The vulnerability has been revealed by tech-scientists from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, who published their findings in a new paper titled, "Speake(a)r: Turn speakers to microphones for fun and profit."

    "The fact that headphones, earphones and speakers are physically built like microphones and that an audio port's role in the PC can be reprogramed from output to input creates a vulnerability that can be abused by hackers," professor Yuval Elovici, director of the BGU Cybersecurity Research Center (CSRC) said in a statement.

    The researchers reversed sound vibrations in membranes emitted in sound waves from the headphones, converting them back into electromagnetic signals. "Even if you remove your computer's microphone, if you use headphones you can be recorded," Mordechai Guri, lead cyber security researcher said. 

    This means headphones could potentially be repurposed into microphones allowing someone to record the conversation.

    The malware that exploits this vulnerability targets RealTek software found in the majority of desktop computers and laptops, "even when the computer doesn't have a connected microphone."

    "Out experiments demonstrate that intelligible audio can be acquired through earphones and can then be transmitted distances up to several meters away," according to researchers, who found they could remotely record audio from up to 20 feet away from a set of headphones.

    ​However, there is one small anomaly, in that the reversal of the sound vibrations can't happen when the headphones are being used to listen to music.


    Hackers Leave Keyless Car Owners Clueless
    Social Media 'Hunting Ground' for Hackers as Online Fraud Rises in UK
    When Gadgets Attack: Internet of Things Compromises Security
    malware, cybersecurity, privacy, technology, smart devices, Internet of Things (IoT), security, laptop, hack-proof laptops, computer, hackers, Israel
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik