Smart speakers are great tools that allow users to control their smart homes using nothing but their voice. However for those who are more privacy-minded, smart speakers also represent an instance in which it could potentially be used as a tool to spy on you by malicious hackers. Unfortunately that’s what researchers discovered with Amazon’s Echo.
A team of researchers from China discovered a flaw within Amazon’s Echo that could have potentially allowed hackers to use it to eavesdrop on users. Thankfully this issue was complex enough where chances of you being hit by such an attack is very slim, but undoubtedly highlights some of the potential risks.
Basically this attack involved the hacker(s) taking out the flash memory chip from an Echo device, modify its firmware to root access, and placing it back on its circuit board. After which it involved taking advantage of Alexa’s web interface vulnerabilities, and the end result was a device that could spy on its users.
However like we said this attack is rather complex and would require the hacker to get their hands on your Echo device to begin with, but like we said it highlights some potential dangers, especially in setups like hotel rooms where anyone could easily gain access to an Echo device. The good news is that Amazon has since fixed the vulnerabilities on their end, so hopefully we won’t be hearing about this attack in the real world anytime soon.