The SPQR Group is moving to Northeastern University in Boston! We work broadly on research problems pertaining to embedded security. We explore the research frontiers of computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and healthcare. Our latest projects examine how to protect analog sensors from intentional electromagnetic, acoustic interference, and light injection.
Light Commands is a vulnerability of MEMS microphones that allows attackers to remotely inject inaudible and invisible commands into voice assistants, such as Google assistant, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Apple Siri using light. In our paper we demonstrate this effect, successfully using light to inject malicious commands into several voice controlled devices such as smart speakers, tablets, and phones across large distances and through glass windows.
Side Eye is a technique that allows adversaries to extract acoustic information from a stream of camera photos. When sound energy vibrates the smartphone body, it shakes camera lenses and creates tiny Point-of-View (POV) variations in the camera images. Adversaries can thus infer the sound information by analyzing the image POV variations. Side Eye enables a family of sensor-based side channel attacks targeting acoustic eavesdropping even when smartphone microphone is disabled.
As cameras become increasingly pervasive, the security and privacy of computer vision systems is a focus of SPQR's research. Our work explores how different physical processes such as acoustics and motion are captured and interpreted by cameras, and how malicious parties may exploit these effects to intentionally adulterate vision systems’ output or exfiltrate sensitive information from it. Our recent research shows acoustic injections into cameras may cause accidents to autonomous vehicles.