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Now your headphones are being used to spy on you

Luke Johnson

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Wireless headphones

Seriously, guys, is nothing sacred anymore? Just as we’d got over having to tape up our webcams and baby monitors for fear of hackers, we’ve got to start worrying about our headphones spying on us.

That’s because malware has been developed that allows hackers to transform your laptop-connected audio enablers into a microphone of sorts that can be used to spy on you, the buggers.

Developed by researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University, the malware targets the audio jack retasking function of the RealTek codecs found aboard most PC motherboards.

When triggered, the threat can transform the vibration-based signals within the headphones diaphragm - usually used to produce sound - to listen in to what you are saying and doing.

Bose headphones 17

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While the thought of people listening in to your inane footy chat, Walking Dead theories and off-key singing might not sound too concerning, the possibilities are seriously worrying - just image eavesdropping on business chat or your, ahem, private evening activities.

Worryingly, it’s not just your headphones you need to be concerned about either.

“It's possible to manipulate the headphones (or earphones) connected to a computer, silently turning them into a pair of eavesdropping microphones – with software alone,” the research paper explained. “The same is also true for some types of loudspeakers.”

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As demoed in the video above, sound quality from hacked headphones is decent if far from high-definition.

Despite no patch having been announced to fix the security vulnerability, fortunately there’s been no reports of the issue being used for nefarious practices yet.

Worried about the lack of action on the issue? Don’t be, there’s a simple solution you can try for yourself - just unplug your headphones. Sorted.

WATCH: Trusted Explains: What type of headphones should you buy?

Are you worried about the headphone hack vulnerability? Share your thoughts on the issue in the comments.

Bugblatter

November 26, 2016, 1:44 pm

Or use wireless headphones; bluetooth shouldn't be susceptible to this attack.

The Pursuing Bear

November 28, 2016, 2:46 pm

I get round modern security issues by being a massive exhibitionist.

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