Hackers could compromise smartphones by using device's gyroscope

Researchers have revealed a snooping technique that uses a smartphone's gyroscope to somewhat accurately snoop on users.

Published Fri, Aug 15 2014 9:49 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:15 PM CST

Hackers can compromise a smartphone user and eavesdrop by using the device's internal gyroscope, according to a study from Stanford University and the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems technology company. Instead of directly listening to a phone conversation, this is remote eavesdrop exploit so users can be snooped on when in the immediate area of a device.

Hackers could compromise smartphones by using device's gyroscope | TweakTown.com

"Whenever you grant anyone access to sensors on a device, you're going to have unintended consequences," said Dan Boneh, Stanford security professor, in a statement to Wired. "In this case the unintended consequence is that they can pick up not just phone vibrations, but air vibrations."

The gyroscope in smartphones use a small plate that vibrates around 200 hertz, which is fast enough to recognize human voices. Using customized speech recognition software allowed the researchers to accurately determine 65 percent of "numeric digits" of a specific speaker. Eavesdropping levels aren't quite the same as using a compromised smartphone's microphone, but shows the potential threat level of current data security efforts.

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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