Stanford researchers have been investigating the possibility of using a smartphone’s gyroscope to record audio – without having microphone access permissions. In other words, the gyroscope sensor in your phone that is used to detect angular velocity is sensitive enough to capture certain lower frequencies of sound. This means that it could be used, without your knowledge, to record and analyze conversations. From this, it is feasible that sensitive private information could be extracted such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and more.
Using specially crafted algorithms to filter the sound captured by the gyroscope, which is normally incomprehensible to human ears, the researchers have managed to correctly interpret spoken digits with an alarming success rate (up to 65%). This means that any sensitive information that is spoken out loud in the vicinity of a smartphone equipped with one of these sensors is susceptible to being recorded and correctly interpreted by a malicious application. Since access to a phone’s gyroscope is not restricted in the way that the microphone is, these applications could operate and steal your information without you ever knowing.
by David Grzebinski