Developers claim to have cracked Siri’s security protocol, implying Apple’s voice-activated assistant could be hacked onto Android devices.
Engineers at the French firm Applidium claim they got through Siri’s security and discovered the format it uses to communicate with Apple’s servers and the iPhone 4S.
The French developers made a demo recording using the tools they created to send a command to Siri without an iPhone, and Siri responded, suggesting any developer could use Applidium’s tools to do the same. This feat could open the voice-activated assistant to other platforms and applications, including Apple’s competitor, Android.
Apple is depending on the uniqueness of its Siri technology to give it a competitive edge in the smartphone race. If the Applidium hack eventually puts Siri on competing devices, Apple could lose that advantage.
Android and Apple have been locked in heated competition this year, with Android manufacturers HTC and Samsung both moving past Apple in U.S. smartphone shipments last quarter. Android also leads iOS in apps downloaded due to the high number of phones that use Google’s open OS, presenting many possible opportunities for people to use hacked information to put Siri on Android devices.
This also isn’t the first time hackers have tried to crack or replicate Siri. Last month, workers at Dexetra.com built a Siri clone named “Iris” which allows users to voice-search various subjects, just like the Apple voice assistant. Analysts speculate Iris could herald the possibility of intuitive voice capabilities coming to Android devices in the near future.
But, the more likely scenario may be Apple cracking down on those who cracked Siri, possibly using future security updates or even legal action to halt attempts to clone or bypass security on its patented voice technology.
Also, the potential for wider use of Applidium’s security hack is still largely theoretical. Siri requires a unique iPhone 4S identification string from every device that tries to communicate with it. When developers hacked into Siri with one falsified string, they sneaked in below Apple’s radar. However, if an engineer hacked Siri onto an app and distributed it, the influx of requests from one user ID may trigger Apple’s alarms, leading to blacklisting.
Hacking aside, as voice recognition becomes a hot commodity in the smartphone market, chances are Siri won’t be alone forever.