Headphones could be used to spy on their user, scientists suggest

Experimental malware was used to repurpose the speakers in headphones so they could be used as microphones

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 24 November 2016 13:14

A group of researchers in Israel have decided to prove that headphones could be used to spy on their user.

According to Wired, the team at Ben Gurion university realised that hackers could find a way to hijack a computer to record audio - even when the microphones on the device have been removed or disabled.

Experimental malware was then used to repurpose the speakers in earbuds or over-ear headphones to be used as microphones, converting air vibrations into electromagnetic signals to capture audio from across a room.

"People don't think about this privacy vulnerabilty," said Morderchai Guri, who lead the research at Ben Gurion's Cyber Security Research Labs.

"Even if you remove your computer's microphone, if you use headhones you can be recorded."

And because RealTek chips are common, an attack would hypothetically work on any desktop computer (Windows or Mac) and laptops as well.

As if we didn't have enough to worry about 2016.

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