Research presented at DEF CON shows that attackers can hijack Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected speakers to produce damaging sounds.
Sound can be damaging to physical health — even lethal. And a hacker can generate sounds that can do damage through common Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-connected devices, according to a research presentation at DEF CON 27.
Matt Wixey, research lead for the PwC UK Cyber Security practice and a doctoral student, found that he could access the speaker and volume controls for a number of different devices and use them to produce sounds at volumes that could distract and annoy humans almost instantly, damage human hearing with a relatively short exposure, and even damage the device itself.
Wixey has reported his finding to a number of different device manufacturers, some of which have made changes to their firmware, but he found that there are viable attacks on many different devices (details of which he didn’t release to minimize possible public harm). In general, though, he reported that audio levels are a legitimate attack vector in the realm of cyberattacks intended to do physical, rather than data-based, damage.
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