They're Listening Through Your Headphones

Why Headphones can pick sound like Microphones

Steve Smith explains why malware can use your headphones to listen to what you are saying.

Episode #7-13 released on November 26, 2016

Watch on Youtube

A day ago, I was on Twitter and saw a post from HackRead about how Malware can convert your headphones, into microphones and allow unauthorized recording or listening to the environment around the compromised computer. Now how did this become a thing?

This is a multistep process that starts with base premise of how Microphones and Headphones work. The process of producing sound in your headphones only needs a few components. The audio you intend to listen to from any device first passes the audio stream through a Digital Analog Convertor which creates pulses that drives a coil around a magnet, that creates pressure waves with a skin over the entire assembly. Those pressure waves create the sound we hear.

The process of recording sound from the same equipment is the complete reverse. Simply plugging the headphones into a microphone jack, will allow you to speak into your headphones, creating a pressure wave that moves the coil around the magnetic because of the skin over the assembly. This creates a pulsating electron stream that the Digital Analog Converter can use to create a recording. Which can be in turn be replayed.

Now, some of you may not be aware of this, but a few years ago, this problem was born into existence because mainboard manufactures replaced the older fixed DAC systems in computers with adaptive DAC systems that allows for any audio input or output to play double duty. Once this occurred, it was simply a matter of time for a hacker to produce malware that could achieve this very simple hack, which is all supported in science.

Just a fun note, I figured out as a kid this was possible, quite by accident, so anyone can be doing this very hack, right now. Unplug your headphones when not playing music or audio.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

Sources & Resources

Community Comments

Share your thoughts, opinions and suggestions

Login or Register to post Your comment.