Speakers are everywhere, whether it’s expensive, standalone sound systems, laptops, smart home devices, or cheap portables. And while you rely on them for music or conversation, researchers have long known that commercial speakers are also physically able to emit frequencies outside of audible range for humans. At the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, one researcher is warning that this capability has the potential to be weaponized.
It’s creepy enough that companies have experimented with tracking user browsing by playing inaudible, ultrasonic beacons through their computer and phone speakers when they visit certain websites. But Matt Wixey, cybersecurity research lead at the technology consulting firm PWC UK, says that it’s surprisingly easy to write custom malware that can induce all sorts of embedded speakers to emit inaudible frequencies at high intensity, or blast out [...]