The hidden command Alexa and Siri can hear, but you can’t. While many of us have grown accustomed to talk to our smart devices, we’ve been unaware someone else might be secretly talking to them too.
Over the last two years, researchers in China and the U.S. have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands, undetectable to the human ear, to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and even Google’s Assistant. Researchers, like a group of students from University of California, Berkeley, can secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones by hiding commands in white noise played over loudspeakers or through videos. Then, the commands can make the phone dial numbers, open websites, or even turn on airplane mode. A major concern of this turn in technology is that, if found in the wrong hands, it could be used to wire money or unlock doors. While there isn’t any evidence that the techniques have left the lab yet, it seems like only a matter of time before someone starts exploiting them in a malicious manner. This also shows that even as artificial intelligence makes great strides, it can still be tricked and manipulated, and used negatively.
Not much has been disclosed about security measures to prevent against such secret attacks. Amazon, Google, and Apple have all said security is an ongoing focus, but it is unclear exactly what measures are being taken. To learn more about how the secret commands work, and other subliminal messaging we’ve recently been exposed to, visit here.
An antitrust investigation into potential coordination between AT&T, Verizon, and a telecommunications standards organization has been opened by the Justice Department. The investigation focuses on the possibility that these companies may be working together to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers.
Demands were issued earlier this year to AT&T, Verizon, and the G.S.M.A., a mobile industry standards-setting group, for potential collusion to thwart a technology known as eSIM. eSIM lets people remotely switch wireless providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. AT&T and Verizon face accusations of working with G.S.M.A. to establish standards allowing them to lock a device to their network, even with eSIM technology present. Little has been said by the Justice Department, Verizon, AT&T, and even Apple regarding the accusations; one Verizon spokesman said the issues was “much ado about nothing” while an AT&T spokesman said the company was working to “move this issue forward”. G.S.M.A. hasn’t stayed as quiet, admitting to developing the eSIM standard, but putting it on hold pending the current investigation, fully cooperating with the Justice Department during this time.
To learn more about the heart of this investigation, whether wireless carriers worked with G.S.M.A to secretly try to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, visit here.
Tip of the Month
Open source and free to use, DBAN is a hard drive eraser and data clearing utility. There are a couple versions of DBAN, one catered towards personal use, and another more towards businesses or larger organizations. The software allows you to delete information stored on hard drive disks in PC laptops, desktops, or servers. Depending on your need you can compare the versions to decide which one would work best for you. To learn more information about DBAN, visit here, or call the office with any additional questions.