Hackers Turned an Amazon Echo Into a Spy Bug

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Since smart speakers like the Amazon Echo first began to appear in homes across the world, the security community has come to see them as a prime target. But that threat has remained largely hypothetical: No Echo malware has appeared in the wild, and even proof-of-concept attacks on the devices have remained impractical at best.

Now, one group of Chinese hackers has spent months developing a new technique for hijacking Amazon’s voice assistant gadget. It’s still hardly a full-blown remote takeover of those smart speakers. But it may be the closest thing yet to a practical demonstration of how the devices might be silently hijacked for surveillance.

At the DefCon security conference Sunday, researchers Wu Huiyu and Qian Wenxiang

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