Smart speakers can make out what’s entered on touch screens.

Smart speaker with Alexa, photo from eBay

People have long been paranoid of smart speakers, and for good reason, as they are joining the growing list of devices that are being used to spy on us.

However, we may have underestimated just how good they are at it. As ThreatPost has pointed out, smart speakers have microphones that are so sensitive, that they can even pick up and accurately determine strokes on touchscreens, even as far as being able to discern pin numbers entered on the screens of nearby phones.

If you’ve kept one near your bed, you might want to consider moving it.

What was found was that smart speakers have multiple microphones (as many as five to seven), which allows for multidirectional listening in the same sense as human hearing, though with greater effectiveness. Smart speakers were found to be so sensitive that they can determine the location of tapping on a touch screen. But right now, you’re probably dwelling on whether some NSA snoop knows what you’re doing in bed.

Putting aside how you top your chimichanga for a moment, there’s the important matter of whether smart speakers are secure to begin with. If these always-on devices could be accessed remotely by someone who isn’t you, they could use them to determine whether you’re home, your bank login information, and even your activities at home.

…You didn’t put that aside, did you?

Whether it’s drones, smartphones, or even smart speakers, there are a lot of highly-effective ways to spy on us that really get the imagination going. Just the tech that we know about is highly effective in this regard, so one can imagine how far they’ve really gotten with what we don’t know about.

Honestly, I’m not as much concerned with the NSA as I’m concerned about advertisers. While NSA surveillance is creepy in it’s own sense, the continual feedback involved with targeted advertising takes it to another level. It’s not okay if advertisers know what I have for breakfast. I don’t need to know that there are cult-driven fad diets based on it.

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