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Amazon Echo Malware Can Spy оn Users аt All Times

Amazon Echo image

Security experts demonstrated that an Amazon Echo malware can be used to institute a 24/7 surveillance mode onto the victims by accessing the device’ hardware.

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Amazon Echo Malware Crafted By Security Experts

Computer security analysts from MWR Labs were able to demonstrate proof of concept code against the Amazon Echo. The team was able to showcase how a potential Amazon Echo malware can be used to spy on the users and carry out other related malicious actions. This is possible due to a insecure hardware implementation — access is possible through exposed debug pads and the device allows booting from external storage devices.

The security team noted that they used the available to date knowledge to coordinate and plan the attacks. There is information on the Internet on accessing the debug pads, connecting to them and how to boot from microSD cards and other related types of removable storage. Connecting to the appropriate pads and monitoring the output reveals that the Amazon Echo devices run a customized Linux distribution. The boot operations were found to use a non-standard three part process — a masked ROM is loaded which configures the hardware platform, a secondary loader (called “X-loader”) is then executed which starts the final bootloader application (U-Boot) which is responsible for starting the software.

It was discovered that the device will first attempt to boot from an external microSD card if one is introduced to the system. By creating an appropriate setup on one the experts were able to boot their own customized Linux distribution compatible with Amazon Echo. Using it they were able to access the internal menu of the appliances. The experts then proceeded into mounting the system partition and attaining root access to the device. This allowed them to create a specialist Amazon Echo malware to demonstrate potential security and privacy risks.

Available options include the following: Device Settings, Operator Test Suite, Run In test, 511, Power Test, Audio Test, RMA, Misc individual test, exit/reboot or disable diags, scone voice test, scone FQC test, pairing process test, exit.

Amazon Echo malware image

Amazon Echo Malware Capabilities

The demonstrated Amazon Echo malware is in the form of a script that needs to be run on the target computers. The experts showcased how a physical delivery can be made. In this case access to the devices must be available to the hackers as they need to introduce an infected microSD card to load the system. The criminals demonstrated that they can access the microphones and employ constant surveillance on the compromised devices. It is possible to relay this to a network stream over the Internet.

The vulnerability has been confirmed to work on the 2015 and 2016 editions of the devices. According to the researchers the latest version (2017) is not vulnerable as it employs a new security measures that prevents booting from external devices.
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Real Amazon Echo Malware Attacks Possible

Even though the demonstrated proof of concept attack against the Amazon Echo devices were made in a lab environment and requires physical access, it is possible for criminals to devise fully-functional virus that can infect the devices over the Internet. One of the possible routes is through a computer infection. This is the reason why we recommend that all computer users employ a quality anti-malware solution to defend them against potential spyware infections. The software can scan for active threats and remove found instances with only a few mouse clicks.

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Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

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Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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