Private Data Harvesting on Alexa using Third-Party Skills

8th October, 2021

Authors Jack Corbett and Erisa Karafili

Abstract: We are currently seeing an increase in the use of voice assistants which are used for various purposes. These assistants have a wide range of inbuilt functionalities with the possibility of installing third-party applications. In this work, we will focus on analyzing and identifying vulnerabilities that are introduced by these third-party applications. In particular, we will build third-party applications (called Skills) for Alexa, the voice assistant developed by Amazon. We will analyze existing exploits, identify accessible data and propose an adversarial framework that deceives users into disclosing private information. For this purpose, we developed four different malicious Skills that harvest different pieces of private information from users. We perform a usability analysis on the Skills and feasibility analysis on the publishing pipeline for one of the Skills.


Authors: Jack Corbett and Erisa Karafili (University of Southampton)

The paper can be found at the following link:

, Karafili Erisa