Voice Squatting Attacks Impact Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistants

by Edgar Hayes May 18, 2018, 10:12
Voice Squatting Attacks Impact Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistants

Developers can utilise the new development to easily give distinct voices to their Alexa skills. This allows developers to create speech-enabled products, and apps that talk to users.

In March alone, the company rolled out the "Brief Mode" feature which converts Alexa's responses to simple beeps, and "Follow-Up Mode" which lets you chain multiple Echo commands together without needing to repeat your device's wake word.

More demos are available on a dedicated website, while more details about the research are available in a paper entitled "Understanding and Mitigating the Security Risks of Voice-Controlled Third-Party Skills on Amazon Alexa and Google Home".

To use an Amazon Polly voice instead, developers would use Structured Speech Markup Language (SSML) and then specify which voice they want with the "voice name" tag.

It was already possible to add additional voices to Alexa through MP3 recordings, but this solution is definitely more seamless for developers. Additionally, you can leverage Amazon Polly's API to deliver automated real-time information such as service status, account and billing inquiries, addresses, and contact information. The accessibility of Amazon Polly will help them avoid this trouble.

The fresh change doesn't mean that developers weren't able to add new voices to their Alexa skills previously. The text-to-speech service today is capable of things like whispering, speech marks, using a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression - all which make the voices sound more natural.

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