Inaudible voice commands: The long-range attack and defense

Nirupam Roy, Sheng Shen, Haitham Hassanieh, Romit Roy Choudhury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Recent work has shown that inaudible signals (at ultrasound frequencies) can be designed in a way that they become audible to microphones. Designed well, this can empower an adversary to stand on the road and silently control Amazon Echo and Google Home-like devices in people's homes. A voice command like “Alexa, open the garage door” can be a serious threat. While recent work has demonstrated feasibility, two issues remain open: (1) The attacks can only be launched from within 5 ft of Amazon Echo, and increasing this range makes the attack audible. (2) There is no clear solution against these ultrasound attacks, since they exploit a recently discovered loophole in hardware non-linearity. This paper is an attempt to close both these gaps. We begin by developing an attack that achieves 25 ft range, limited by the power of our amplifier. We then develop a defense against this class of voice attacks that exploit non-linearity. Our core ideas emerge from a careful forensics on voice, i.e., finding indelible traces of nonlinearity in recorded voice signals. Our system, LipRead, demonstrates the inaudible attack in various conditions, followed by defenses that only require software changes to the microphone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages547-560
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133014
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018 - Renton, United States
Duration: Apr 9 2018Apr 11 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018

Conference

Conference15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018
CountryUnited States
CityRenton
Period4/9/184/11/18

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Cite this

Roy, N., Shen, S., Hassanieh, H., & Choudhury, R. R. (2019). Inaudible voice commands: The long-range attack and defense. In Proceedings of the 15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018 (pp. 547-560). (Proceedings of the 15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2018). USENIX Association.