Feeds

Google Chrome has voice-snoop bug, claims developer

Sneaky microphone switch-on popunder demo published

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A frustrated developer claims that Google is sitting on a bug that would expose voice search to eavesdroppers, and has released exploit code on github.

Tal Ater, whose speciality is speech recognition, claims in this blog post that a site can plant script in Chrome that will allow an attacker to turn on the microphone of a visitor to a site – and leave it open for as long as Chrome remains open.

He has posted the code to github.

When it's working right, Chrome's voice search allows a visitor to any site to ask for voice control, at which point the microphone is turned on – and the user gets a clear indication that this has happened, Ater writes. This choice is also remembered for the future.

However, he says, a malicious site could exploit this by opening "popunders" that users aren't aware of. Here's his description of how this works:

“When you click the button to start or stop the speech recognition on the site, what you won’t notice is that the site may have also opened another hidden popunder window. This window can wait until the main site is closed, and then start listening in without asking for permission. This can be done in a window that you never saw, never interacted with, and probably didn’t even know was there.”

The popunder can also be disguised as (for example) a banner ad – and it won't show the indication that the microphone is listening.

Ater has posted this demonstration to YouTube:

Youtube Video

Ater claims he notified Google about the flaw in September 2013, but that Google is waiting on “ongoing” discussions at the W3C before it acts on the bug. The Register has asked Google for a response. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.