Smartphone gyroscopes may allow phone snooping

Aug 18 2014, 14:59 IST
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They could use a smartphone's internal gyroscopes to decipher audio waves that hit the device. (reuters) They could use a smartphone's internal gyroscopes to decipher audio waves that hit the device. (reuters)
SummaryHackers may not need access to phone microphones and cameras...

Your smartphone can be used to eavesdrop on private conversations using the device's internal gyroscopes, scientists warn.

Hackers may not need access to phone microphones and cameras, they could use a smartphone's internal gyroscopes to decipher audio waves that hit the device, according to a study by Stanford University and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli defence technology company.

Smartphones, tablet computers and mobile devices contain gyroscopes that are used for gaming and other apps. The gyroscopes also enable these devices automatically to rotate their screens from a portrait to a landscape view.

The scientists found that the gyroscopes in smartphones could measure acoustic signals near the phone.

The information from gyroscopes was "low frequency", but after it had been processed by computers, it could be used to identify parts of conversations and the identities of speakers, 'The Times' reported.

"The acoustic signal measured by the gyroscope can reveal private information about the phone's environment, such as who is speaking in the room and, to some extent, what is being said," the researchers said.

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