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On the Feasibility of Acoustic Attacks Using Commodity Smart Devices

Wixey, M; De Cristofaro, E; Johnson, S; (2020) On the Feasibility of Acoustic Attacks Using Commodity Smart Devices. In: 2020 IEEE Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW). (pp. pp. 88-97). IEEE: San Francisco, CA, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Sound at frequencies above (ultrasonic) or below (infrasonic) the range of human hearing can, in some settings, cause adverse physiological and psychological effects to individuals. We investigate the feasibility of cyber-attacks that could make smart consumer devices produce possibly imperceptible sound at both high (17-21kHz) and low (60-100Hz) frequencies, at the maximum available volume setting, potentially turning them into acoustic cyber-weapons. To do so, we deploy attacks targeting different smart devices and take sound measurements in an anechoic chamber. For comparison, we also test possible attacks on traditional devices. Overall, we find that some of the devices tested are capable of reproducing frequencies within both high and low ranges, at levels exceeding those recommended in published guidelines. Generally speaking, such attacks are often trivial to develop and in many cases could be added to existing malware payloads, as they may be attractive to adversaries with specific motivations or targets. Finally, we suggest a number of countermeasures for detection and prevention.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: On the Feasibility of Acoustic Attacks Using Commodity Smart Devices
Event: IEEE Workshop on the Internet of Safe Things
Location: San Francisco
Dates: 21 May 2020 - 21 May 2020
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/SPW50608.2020.00031
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/SPW50608.2020.00031
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096626
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