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App Spoils Voice Hackers by Using Compass of Phone


The skill to control our devices with the voice commands gives us huge convenience; however it brings also something else, which is opportunity of voice hacking. Hackers can gain access of using our phones as well as other device featuring the software for voice recognition by using the recordings of our voices. However, University of Buffalo (UB) researchers have figured a way of using compass in the smartphones for preventing such practice.


The app particularly depends on magnetometer inside several smartphones - the small piece of tech which identifies the magnetic field of Earth; and informs you if you are heading east, west, north, or south. As algorithms exist for thwarting the voice hackers trying to synthesize or mimic your voice, researchers of UB focused on most common method the hack could take place: when somebody playing recording of your voice into your phone.


The speaker by which the hacker will play the recorded voice further gives a magnetic field; hence the app of team uses magnetometer of the phone for sensing that field. For making it to work, device with recorded voice should remain very near to earpiece of your phone, but that may be only way by which a voice hack can be effective. Present system also needs that phone is moving throughout attack to enable the magnetometer notice subtle shifts in magnetic field coming out from speaker.


Ren, engineering and computer science professor in UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, does not mince the words while discussing importance of the better cellphone security. Ren said that "hackers are out there, more than you can imagine. There is a whole underground grey market to sell your password and your personal information."

He said that best way of protecting your cellphone is using many security methods. Sciencedaily.com posted on June 5th, 2017, stating "technology is advancing so fast; we have to think of different ways. The strategy is using multiple lines of defense. We call that defense in depth."


The team is presently refining system with intent of making the app available soon.

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