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Google Blocks Burger King Advert That Tried To Hijack Google Home

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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Whopper mistake: Smart home audio hack gets a smack from Google

Fast food giant Burger King attempted to trigger the Google Assistant in the latest Android smartphones and Google Home to explain what a ‘Whopper’ burger is. 

Burger King came up with a 15-second advert in which a person kitted out in its firm’s uniform and holding a Whopper burger declares: “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” 

The idea was that anyone with a Google Home, the search giant’s take on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, or with an Android smartphone featuring the Google Assistant, like the LG G6 and Google’s Pixel phones, would prompt the Google Assistant in the devices to start reading the Wikipedia entrance for the Whopper. 

Audio hacking Google Home

Google Home 1Google, which was not consulted on the advert by Burger King, appears to have moved to block the advert from triggering its Assistant. Silicon can confirm that the Assistant in the Pixel XL did not respond to the advert when played out aloud through a laptop. 

While the advert treads somewhere between a prank and a form of smart home hack, it was not well received due to concerns over security and privacy, and some people made humorous edits to the Whopper Wikipedia page to somewhat reverse the advert’s goals. 

So it would appear that Burger King’s marketing stunt has backfired rather heavily despite the fast food chain’s rather creative attempt at advertising.

However, the situation does raise concerns over the security of such voice-activated devices, particularity as their functionality is ever expanding. 

The Amazon Alexa supporting Echo speaker can order Uber rides from a users voice command, so if that were to be hijacked via an advert or other audio source, it could wreak havoc for the user and Uber drivers. 

Security concerns are nothing new in smart devices, with the likes of Intel and BitDefender moving targeting smart home security

But such ‘non-cyber’ hacks could present a whole new cyber security challenge for always-on voice activated smart devices. 

Quiz: What do you know about the Internet of Things?