In July, both Google and Samsung released the patch for fixing the voice assistant flaws. These flaws allow hackers to take photos and videos of users and track their location without their knowledge. Such issues exist in Google’s Pixel phones and Samsung’s Galaxy phones. Due to these security vulnerabilities, outsiders can obtain sensitive information by recording two-way conversations and collecting GPS location based on metadata of a device. From this news, we can see that the convenience that new technologies bring to us always comes with new channels of attack. For example, new technologies like Amazon’s Ring doorbell can be a channel for attackers to intercept the owner’s Wi-Fi usernames as well as passwords.
Voice Assistant is an intelligent mobile phone application that helps users solve problems through intelligent interaction such as AI dialogue. In 2011, Apple’s Siri pioneered intelligent voice assistant. Nowadays, Voice Assistant like Siri and Alexa is still a humble servant serving everyone though, we can see that it can do better soon. For instance, it can be our teacher, our friend, and even a source of all news. However, as voice assistants do not need to ask for permission to capture images or record videos, other less-trusted apps can abuse the voice assistants for malicious purposes. Fortunately, this problem had been noticed by Android’s Security team at Google soon, and a patch had been released timely to prevent further harm to their customers’ privacy and security.
However, Amazon, Apple, and Google all admitted hiring employees to listen to customer voice recordings from smart speakers and voice assistant applications in order to improve the speech recognition functions. How should we define eavesdropping and privacy even though the voice assistant is not used for malicious purposes? That’s something we should absolutely work on for securing our privacy in the current high-tech era.
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