An Israeli professor’s challenge to his students led to the recent discovery of security flaws in Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant that allows attackers to take over a locked Windows machine and execute arbitrary code. (Microsoft has since patched the vulnerability.)
The finding, detailed during a presentation at the Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, spotlighted the potential vulnerabilities associated with the use of voice-assisted devices.
Voice-controlled digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are being incorporated across a range of digital devices in growing number. Nearly half of U.S. adults (46%) now say that they use these applications to interact with smartphones and other devices, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The advent of these products has touched a responsive chord.