Can you imagine that the headphones you use everyday can be used to spy on you? Yeah as much as it made you uncomfortable, it's not a surprise that technology poses a major threat to your private life.
So much so, that now leaving headphones plugged into your PC could pose a security threat. That's what a group of researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel have done.
They have created a piece of code that can hijack a user’s headphones (exploits the audio-jack re-tasking function of RealTek codecs, for those interested in the details) and convert them into a microphone and record all your conversations.
How it works: The malicious code named “Speake(a)r,” makes uses of the speakers in our earbuds or headphones to capture vibrations in the air and convert them to electromagnetic signals able to capture audio.
Mordechai Guri, the research lead of Ben Gurion’s Cyber Security Research Labs told Wired, “People don’t think about this privacy vulnerability. Even if you remove your computer’s microphone, if you use headphones you can be recorded.”
As of now, the research team has only focused on PCs using RealTek audio and they have yet to test which other audio codec chips and smartphones might be vulnerable.
But, if you're worried about being spied on, unplug your headphones when you're not using them. A little precaution might go a long way!
If you are not convinced, maybe you should watch Black Mirror. (Warning: Not for the paranoid)