Hackers have managed to spy on private conversations using a Google Home

Hackers have managed to spy on conversations near Google Home speakers by exploiting a software bug.

Rishi Mohan on Unsplash

Rest assured: The security flaw was fixed by Google in 2021, Google Home speakers updated automatically. But today we learn about the existence of a bug that could be exploited.

It was a computer security researcher who reported the vulnerability to Google in April 2021, he received $107,500 for this discovery. Specifically, it was possible to take control of the smart speaker remotely and turn it into a perfect spy device by accessing the microphone. How ? It wasn’t that simple, which rules out massive hacking.

Microphone access was possible

On a Google Home Mini, the Google Home API (Local Home SDK) has been probed to intercept encrypted traffic over HTTPS in hopes of stealing the user’s authentication token. This may have exposed a bug that allows a new user to be added to the target device with a two-step process that requires the device name, certificate, and “cloud ID” from the API locally.

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Google Home Mini

While the microphone was on, the device’s LED was blue, which was the only indication that hacking activity was taking place.

It’s not an easy bug to exploit, so we hope hackers haven’t used it to eavesdrop on private conversations. However, since this flaw could only be exploited on a specific Google Home, it is more likely that it was used to spy on target individuals or companies rather than on a massive scale.

It is important to be aware of the security of our connected devices and to take the necessary measures to protect our privacy. If you have a Google Home, be sure to check regularly for security updates installed, just by connecting it to the internet if this is not the case and installing them to protect your device from hacking. There are also, depending on the device, features to physically block access to a microphone or camera.

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