The Great Tech Panic
August 23, 2017
In “The Great Tech Panic: What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Worry About” in the September issue of WIRED, experts were asked to “weigh in on how much we should be stressed about self-driving cars, rogue nuke launches, evil AI, and more.” A BGU cyber security expert responds.
Am I Being Spied on Through My Microphone-Equipped Devices?
It’s certainly possible. Cybercriminals, third-party developers, and sometimes even the companies that make smart devices may have the means to access your audio stream.
“We’re always accompanied by high-quality microphones,” says Dr. Mordechai Guri, head of R&D for the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. “Your smartphone or smart TV could be turned into an eavesdropping device for advertising purposes.”
The same goes for smart home devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, with far-field, always-on microphones. More and more, even apps are asking to access smartphone microphones to feed you hyper-targeted ads.
It’s unlikely that there’s a person listening in on you, says Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, “but increasingly there may be some form of AI that is.”
One way to reduce your exposure? Check your privacy settings to see which apps have been granted microphone privileges.