Voice assistants can hear what is typed in nearby devices: Study

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Deal Subedar
ULYSSES

Paper Link : https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.00687


Abstract : Voice assistants are now ubiquitous and listen in on our everyday lives. Ever since they became
commercially available, privacy advocates worried that the data they collect can be abused: might
private conversations be extracted by third parties? In this paper we show that privacy threats go
beyond spoken conversations and include sensitive data typed on nearby smartphones. Using two
different smartphones and a tablet we demonstrate that the attacker can extract PIN codes and text
messages from recordings collected by a voice assistant located up to half a meter away. This shows
that remote keyboard-inference attacks are not limited to physical keyboards but extend to virtual
keyboards too. As our homes become full of always-on microphones, we need to work through the
implications.

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