Hackers Can Now Break Into Your Phone Using Music

New research shows sound waves can manipulate the accelerometer in your phone; what implications does this have for data security?

With so much important stuff on your phone, companies have gone to great lengths to make them secure. They've taken steps to keep hackers from breaking into your phone, either physically or digitally, but what about audibly? Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina have found that it's possible to hack your phone using sound.

The process works by tricking the phone's accelerometer, the hardware that senses movement. You know when you flip your phone sideways and it switches to landscape mode? That's because of the accelerometer.

The researchers tested 20 accelerometer models from 5 different manufacturers by playing certain sounds over a cheap speaker. They found 65% of them could be manipulated with a sonic attack.

This isn't an entirely new concept; previous research has demonstrated that sound waves could be used to disable accelerometers entirely. What this research shows is that accelerometers can be finely controlled with sound too, not just shut down.


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