Hackers take control of Siri and Android phones using radio waves

By on
Smartphone
IN PHOTO: A user examines a smartphone's features. Reuters

Hackers have upped their game by using an unconventional method to gain remote access to smartphones. Now, they’ve managed to figure out how to use radio waves to tell Siri what to do.

The cyberattack broadcasts radio waves to unshielded iPhone earphones. This allows hackers to obtain unwanted access to Siri and to give her certain commands such as revealing private information, etc. 

These radio waves are sent to the mikes attached to iOS devices -- and Android, as well. These waves are silent, but are powerful enough to activate the button associated with Siri. 

Eventually, hackers can wake-up Siri and simulate voice commands. Once Siri is up and running, hackers can then send their personal messages, access the user's downloaded and pre-installed apps, and open the mobile wallet.

Although the hack itself is a complex task, the hacker simply approaches the victim and presses the headphone button by hand. Despite the complexity, it’s worth noting this new type of cyberattack is, indeed, a very interesting way of exploiting tech users and their private data, as Tech Crunch pointed out.

ANSSI, a French security firm, discovered this new form of radio wave cyberattack. Their findings were published in Electromagnetic Compatibility.

"We present a smart use of intentional electromagnetic interference, resulting in finer impacts on an information system than a classical denial of service effect”, wrote Chaouki Kasmi and Jose Lopes Esteves, both are researchers from ANSSI. "As an outcome, we introduce a new silent remote voice command injection technique on modern smartphones”.

Although the hack might eventually turn into something quite alarming, it’s presently not a pressing concern for tech users. iOS users that would much rather be on the safe side, however, can easily prevent access to Siri by turning the feature off in Allow Access When Locked tab in the device's Touch ID & Passcode settings.

Simple, right?                         

Contact writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au, or let us know what you think below.