News

New Spy Malware Can Turn Headphones Into Microphones

It is the kind of stuff one only used to see in spy movies but researchers from Israel’s Ben Gurion University have demonstrated how a piece of headphone can be turned into a microphone and be used to snoop on an unsuspecting user via malware. The idea is to show how a determined hacker can hijack any computer, even if no microphones are plugged in or has been disabled, and turn it into a listening device through a piece of code.

The vulnerability relies on widely used Realtek audio solutions’ ability to re-task the jacks. Realtek is ubiquitous when it comes to motherboard audio that almost every computer out there uses their hardware from low-end units to laptops and high-end motherboards including the often-used Realtek ALC1150. The customized spy malware can re-purpose the earphones by converting the vibrations in the air into electromagnetic signals, while the earphone jack it is plugged into is re-tasked in the OS to function as an input device instead.

In their tests, the researchers used a pair of Sennheiser headphones and have successfully recorded audio from as far as 20 feet away. The audio was then compressed and sent over the internet with the user none-the-wiser. Since the re-tasking ability is an actual hardware feature, researchers say this is not a simple matter of applying a driver fix since it is not a bug. The researchers are also further looking into similar spying vulnerabilities with other audio solutions as well.

Ron Perillo

Disqus Comments Loading...

Recent Posts

Modern Warfare 3 Reportedly Arrives on Xbox Game Pass This Week

Microsoft is set to bring Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to Xbox Game Pass…

1 hour ago

NVIDIA’s RTX 50 Series Graphics Cards Might Be Delayed Until 2025

Nvidia's next-generation graphics cards, the RTX 50 series, may not hit the market until 2025.…

14 hours ago

AMD Releases New Frame Latency Meter Tool

AMD has launched the Frame Latency Meter (FLM) tool, which measures the response time of…

15 hours ago

Stardew Valley Creator Vows Never to Charge for DLC

Eric Barone, known as ConcernedApe, the creator of Stardew Valley, has committed to never charge…

15 hours ago

MINISFORUM Launches the MS-A1 Mini PC

MINISFORUM is pleased to introduce the MS-A1, the world's most compact and adaptable AM5 platform…

16 hours ago

ASRock Unveils New PG27FFT1A and PG27FFT1B Gaming Monitors

ASRock just revealed two new gaming monitors, the PG27FFT1A and PG27FFT1B, and they're taking their…

17 hours ago