Though the Apple devices till now have proved to be more secure as compared to the competing brand against malware attacks and security breaches but AirPods seems to be creating a security threat. Apple true wireless AirPods have an access to Siri on the iPhone. So if the AirPods are stolen or taken by someone and are within the vicinity of the owner; they have access to the iPhone even if its locked and can ask about the contents of the device. According to Patently Apple, the company have filed for a new patent application to overcome this security loophole.
According to the new patent, Apple has come up with two ways to overcome this security loophole:
One way to overcome the security issue is that the Apple AirPods know the owners ear canal. Every ear canal like finger print has its unique shape. According to the patent document “the various characteristics of the user’s ear provide an echo of the ultrasonic signal which is unique to the user.” The document further adds that variations in the surface of the user’s ear canal may cause ultrasonic signal to reflect off the surface and generate an echo having signature that will be associated with the user. This will no doubt require the introduction of a new sensor, which cannot be expected in the upcoming AirPods 2.
The second way seems to be a lot easier for the company to integrate into their AirPods without making a significant change to the AirPods. It could be with the gait information from the connected iPhone or Apple Watch. As per the patent document the gait information will be including the user’s walking or running characteristics like the user’s strides space or length, steps pace as how many steps the user take in a minute. Such unique features will make the AirPods recognize the real owner and may prove successful in keeping the Apple device secure.
These suggested ways are quite sophisticated. Another suggested way stated somewhere else was the matching the voice of the user with the real owner; by the voice recognition Siri will limit obeying the commands. The voice recognition will prevent the Siri from reading out text, calendar appointments.
In all these suggested ways Siri will stay quiet if the gait, ear canal’s dimensions or voice did not match the owner’s. Though these security measures are very innovative cutting edge technology but there will be users who will be concerned about their gait, ear canal dimensions and voice records with Apple.
All these suggestions till now are just ideas on a piece of paper. They are still to be approved and made part of the devices, if the patent application gets the approval.
By reputation Apple has always been very concerned about the privacy, so now lets see what and how will Apple resolve the Apple true wireless AirPods security loophole.