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Xiaomi's Roborock transformed into a spy robot thanks to the LiDAR sensor

La privacy is currently one of the most controversial speeches when it comes to technology. Do they spy on us or do they not spy on us? There are different points of view that express as many opinions about it. Personally I believe that to get an answer just look at the Facebook ads when we browse the application: how do there be announcements about something we mentioned a few hours earlier? Trivially speaking, it is very easy for us to be "spied on". But does this only apply to the smartphone? No, apparently it is also possible to do this with robot vacuum cleaners such as Roborock. Let's go see the details.

Is it possible to be spied on by Xiaomi's Roborock, the historic robot vacuuming floors? Apparently yes, here's the experiment

A recent study tells us that the domestic cleaning robot could become one "tool for crime". Jokes aside, based on what was revealed to the ACM SenSys (International Computer Association Intelligent Sensing System Conference) held from 16 to 19 November 2020 last, it seems that a robot vacuum cleaner, in this case a Roborock by Xiaomi, has been transformed into a tool that can spy on users who own it. How? Via the sensor LiDAR which allows you to calculate the right distances when moving inside the house.

Xiaomi's Roborock transformed into a spy robot thanks to the LiDAR sensor

 

It was the Maryland University , National University of Singapore to carry out this experiment trivially titled "Spying with your robot vacuum cleaner". Lresearchers' idea is that of use the LiDAR sensor of the robot's navigation component to design a new type of attack to privacy. But what is this sensor of grace? We talked about it briefly some time ago in reference to the comparison between Black Shark and iPhone 12 Pro. Basically it's a technology it allows transmit a signal to the target, compare the reflected signal with the transmitted signal and perform a processing appropriate in order to obtain different benchmarks.

Xiaomi's Roborock transformed into a spy robot thanks to the LiDAR sensor

These "return" signals are obviously transformable into sounds. And this is exactly what the scientists have done. Through digital and musical sounds collected within the reference scope from computer speakers and TV speakers, the data contained more than 30.000 vocal sequences emitted in 19 hours and received by the Roborock. Nirupam Roy, one of the co-authors of the paper and professor at theUniversity of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computing Technology (UMIACS), stated:

"Similar smart devices have entered thousands of families, but the public didn't expect that even if these devices don't have a microphone, we can retrofit their navigation systems for monitoring purposes"

Security experts believe that the maps drawn by the Roborock are usually stored in the cloud, which could cause significant privacy issues. OEMs could thus obtain information on population, income and lifestyle.

Source | Spying with Your Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Eavesdropping via Lidar Sensors

Gianluca Cobucci
Gianluca Cobucci

Passionate about code, languages ​​and languages, man-machine interfaces. All that is technological evolution is of interest to me. I try to divulge my passion with the utmost clarity, relying on reliable sources and not "on the first pass".

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