Cortana vulnerability allows hackers to bypass Windows 10 passwords to install malware

Researches show that voice assist is a security risk

Cortana

Security researchers have discovered a flaw with Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant that could enable hackers to bypass the login screen in Windows 10 and infect a system with malware.

The Israeli researchers, Tal Be'ery and Amichai Shulman, found the vulnerability after finding out that Cortana is always on and responds to voice commands, even when a machine is locked.

According to reports by Motherboard, a hacker could plug in a USB stick with a network adapter into the computer, then tell Cortana to launch the computer's browser and go to an unencrypted URL (non-HTTP). This adaptor the intercepts this session to send the browser to a malicious website, downloading malware and infecting the system.

"We start with proximity because it gives us the initial foothold in [a] network. We can attach the computer to a network we control, and we use voice to force the locked machine into interacting in an insecure manner with our network," Shulman told the publication.

Hackers could also connect a targeted computer to a Wi-Fi network they control by simply clicking on a selected network with a mouse, even when the computer is locked.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"One of the things we saw was that even when a machine is locked, you can choose the network to which that machine is attached," said Shulman.

"We still have this bad habit of introducing new interfaces into machines without fully analyzing the security implications of it," said Be'ery. "Every new machine interface that we introduce creates new types of vehicles to carry an attack vector into your computer."

The researchers will present the findings in a presentation at the Kaspersky Analyst Security Summit in Cancun this week.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/354526/memes-and-viking-funerals-the-internet-reacts-to-the
Microsoft Windows

Memes and Viking funerals: The internet reacts to the death of Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/network-internet/broadband/354530/openreach-offers-free-full-fibre-installation-for-thousands-of
broadband

Openreach offers free full-fibre installation for thousands of homes

14 Jan 2020