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A security researcher was awarded a bug bounty of $107,500 for identifying security issues in Google Home smart speakers that could be exploited to install backdoors and turn them into wiretapping devices.

The flaws “allowed an attacker within wireless proximity to install a ‘backdoor’ account on the device, enabling them to send commands to it remotely over the internet, access its microphone feed, and make arbitrary HTTP requests within the victim’s LAN,” the researcher, who goes by the name Matt Kunze, disclosed in a technical write-up published this week.

In making such malicious requests, not only could the Wi-Fi password get exposed, but also provide the adversary direct access to other devices connected to the same network. Following responsible disclosure on January 8, 2021, the issues were remediated by Google in April 2021.

The problem, in a nutshell, has to do with how the Google Home software architecture can be leveraged to add a rogue Google user account to a target’s home automation device.

In an attack chain detailed by the researcher, a threat actor looking to eavesdrop on a victim can trick the individual into installing a malicious Android app, which, upon detecting a Google Home device on the network, issues stealthy HTTP requests to link an attacker’s account to the victim’s device.

images from Hacker News