Alexa, Cortana, Siri… if these names are familiar to you, it is because more and more of us are using virtual assistants as opposed to traditional Internet searches. However, their use carries a number of unanticipated risks - like with most new technology. This article will explain the risk that is voice hacking, and how you can avoid it.
In this context, your voice can be used as a password or a fingerprint, that is, as an authentication method to protect access to your devices and accounts. The concept of 'voice hacking' refers to hacking techniques whose objective is to copy your voice and use it to trick your virtual assistant, so that the attacker can access your personal information without your permission.
However before you rush to throw away your smart speaker or cover up your phone’s microphone, read these tips and learn how to improve your safety:
To prevent any intrusions into your home network and the devices connected to it, change the Wi-Fi password to a more secure one. Also, whenever possible, use additional layers of protection such as a voice code for purchases with Alexa or Google’s 2-Step Verification.
Although it is not always easy (or practical), tries to keep it away from other possible sources of sound such as stereos, laptops, Smart TVs, or even a window facing the street . Of course, turn it off when you're not using it. It sounds like science fiction, but there have been cases where voice assistants have made purchases by hearing the right words in a TV commercial or song. Just imagine what a thief or a malicious neighbor could do...
Logically, you are most vulnerable to this type of attack when a stranger can hear your voice and record it without you being aware. With the right knowledge and programs, you could even create a deepfake audio that was able to say any word or phrase imitating your voice. The consequences are terrifying.
If you don't want to make it too easy for cybercriminals, you should also configure your virtual assistant and the apps linked to it to only respond to your voice . This can be done via Google Home. For devices with the integrated Google Assistant this option is called Voice Match). Once you have done this, check that the voice recognition works as it should. Perform a test by asking a trusted person to try to dictate voice commands on your behalf.
Do you want more advice? Don't miss our guide on how to protect your personal data on the Internet.