The headphone can be used to spy on individuals via a malware that turns it into microphones; researchers announced Wednesday.
The application which makes this possible is called SPEAKE(a)R, and it can be utilised to spy, even when the computer doesn’t possess a mike or if your mic is muffled, recorded or turned off.
"We demonstrated it is possible to obtain intelligible sound through earphones up to many meters away," says BGU acoustic researcher Dr Yosef Solewicz.
Research workers released a video revealing how the malware works.
"You may record the mic, but would be unlikely to tape the headphones or speakers," added Guri.
A normal computer has some audio jacks, used for input or output. However, sound chipsets in modern motherboards and SoundCloud have an option for altering using the sound port with software, which can be a type of audio interface programming known as Jack remapping or jack retasking.
“The fact that headphones, earphones and speakers are physically constructed like mics and that a sound interface’s function in the PC can be reprogrammed from output to input creates a susceptibility which can be abused by hackers,” says Prof. Yuval Elovici, manager of the BGU Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC).
Researchers say disabling audio hardware is a good thought to prevent spying through earphones. Using an HD audio driver that alerts someone when a microphone is being got is another strategy to stop eavesdropping.
Research workers called for “enforcing a rigorous rejacking policy within the industry,” in addition to the development of anti-malware and intrusion detection systems to detect and block eavesdropping.