"Are you home alone?" "Yes" Disclosing Security and Privacy Vulnerabilities in Alexa Skills

10/21/2020 ∙ by Dan Su, et al. ∙ 0

The home voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa have become increasingly popular due to many interesting voice-activated services provided through special applications called skills. These skills, though useful, have also introduced new security and privacy challenges. Prior work has verified that Alexa is vulnerable to multiple types of voice attacks, but the security and privacy risk of using skills has not been fully investigated. In this work, we study an adversary model that covers three severe privacy-related vulnerabilities, namely,over-privileged resource access, hidden code-manipulation and hidden content-manipulation. By exploiting these vulnerabilities, malicious skills can not only bypass the security tests in the vetting process, but also surreptitiously change their original functions in an attempt to steal users' personal information. What makes the situation even worse is that the attacks can be extended from virtual networks to the physical world. We systematically study the security issues from the feasibility and implementation of the attacks to the design of countermeasures. We also made a comprehensive survey study of 33,744 skills in Alex Skills Store.



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