Hackers can control your home assistant with a laser, researchers warn

Researchers at the University of Michigan are warning owners of home assistants that hackers can control them with lasers, from outside your home.

“If they’re within a couple hundred meters, line of sight, of these devices, they found that they can mimic the actual command noises via light, which these devices can pick-up, basically you can command a device with a laser beam,” said Thomas Jelneck, Technology expert.

This gives criminals the ability to make purchases on your dime.

“Going on a shopping spree, waiting for that amazon truck to drop it off, coming out of the bushes and take off with it,” said Jelneck.

But even more concerning, criminals could gain access to your home.

“If you have your garage door connected to the device and a criminal is able to hit that device, open that garage door, they break into your home and steal everything, including your Alexa,” said Jelneck.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

“Keep it away from any line of sight, outside, so if it’s in a kitchen and there’s a kitchen window, move it to the other side of the kitchen,” said Jelneck.

Orlando resident Brandon Hanna tells me, this gives him another reason not to buy a home assistant.

“I just try to limit my technology use, as much as possible,” said Brandon Hanna, Orlando resident.

But his Dad Wally, has one.

“Amazing, kind of hard to believe and scary at the same time,” said Wally Hanna, Orlando resident.

“We always on guard and understand the responsibility we have when putting these devices in our house,” said Jelneck.

There is some good news, according to Jelneck, this is not easy to do, it costs about $500 and requires special skills to alter the laser, so the average Joe can’t do this.

Tune in to FOX 35 at 5 and 6 p.m. for the latest.