Nov. 4, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — Since voice-controlled digital assistants were introduced a few years ago, security experts have fretted that systems like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa were a privacy threat and could be easily hacked. 

But the risk presented by a cleverly pointed light was probably not on anyone’s radar. 

Researchers in Japan and at the University of Michigan said Monday that they had found a way to take over Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri devices from hundreds of feet away by shining laser pointers, and even flashlights, at the devices’ microphones.