Researchers Use $5 Speaker to Hack IoT Devices, Smartphones, Automobiles

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June 12, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: June 12 on

University of Michigan researchers were able to successfully hack into sensors in smartphones, automobiles, medical devices, and IoT products, the university announced Tuesday. Using only a simple $5 speaker, the researchers were able to outwit accelerometers and gain additional access to the system, a press release said.

…Using “precisely tuned acoustic tones,” researchers were able to trick 15 separate accelerometers models into recording movement that didn”t actually happen. For example, they were able to register false steps on a Fitbit. While this may not seem nefarious at first, this method offered “a backdoor into the devices—enabling the researchers to control other aspects of the system,” the release said.

…”We were able to, not only, disable systems with acceleration sensors, but we could control their output in a way that would alter the behavior of systems that use these devices,” University of Michigan graduate student Timothy Trippel explained in a video.