Hackers might have a pulsating new way to spy on you through your phone and fitbit

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Hackers may be pickin' up good vibrations from your phone. All the better to surveil you with, my dear.

Researchers at the Electrical and Computer Engineering school of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discovered that the vibration motor in your devices can operate like a microphone, according to the researchers' paper. That means, if a hacker rewires your vibration motor (which TechCrunch reported could be executed "in a minute or two"), they can listen to what you're saying.

The system, VibraPhone, works on any device with a vibration motor — which includes our phones and wearables.

And it works damn well. Humans were able to understand the recorded words via the vibration motor with greater than 80% average accuracy, according to the researchers' paper. The researchers note that the "fidelity to which this is possible has been somewhat unexpected." More great news for malware eavesdroppers: This system doesn't require any machine learning or pattern recognition to extract the decoded sounds.

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Hackers might have a pulsating new way to spy on you through your phone and fitbit
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Fitbit Alta products on display as celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak and stylist to the stars Anita Patrickson help introduce Fitbit Alta, a slim, sleek fitness wristband that can be personalized to fit your style, on February 2, 2016 in New York City. Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of interchangeable bands in multiple popular colors and premium materials. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for FitBit)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak (pictured) and stylist to the stars Anita Patrickson help introduce Fitbit Alta, a slim, sleek fitness wristband that can be personalized to fit your style on February 2, 2016 in New York City. Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of interchangeable bands in multiple popular colors and premium materials. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for FitBit)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak and stylist to the stars Anita Patrickson help introduce Fitbit Alta, a slim, sleek fitness wristband that can be personalized to fit your style on February 2, 2016 in New York City. Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of interchangeable bands in multiple popular colors and premium materials. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for FitBit)
The Fitbit Inc. Blaze fitness tracker is unveiled during an event at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. CES is expected to bring a range of announcements from major names in tech showcasing new developments in virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, wearables, and the Internet of Things. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Volunteers take part in Fitbit introduces Fitbit Local, free all-levels workouts led by talented community trainers. The launch in San Diego included a morning bootcamp and yoga session led by Sheri Matthews and Mike Sherbakov. Get Together. Sweat Together. (Photo by Robert Benson/Getty Images for Fitbit)
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Volunteers take part in Fitbit introduces Fitbit Local, free all-levels workouts led by talented community trainers. The launch in San Diego included a morning bootcamp and yoga session led by Sheri Matthews and Mike Sherbakov. Get Together. Sweat Together. (Photo by Robert Benson/Getty Images for Fitbit)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Professional Boxer Miguel Cotto trains with Fitbit Surge in preparation for his fight on Nov. 21 with Canelo Alvarez at Wild Card Boxing Club on November 11, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images for fitbit)
FILE - In this July 31, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's fitness tracker is seen on his wrist as he meets with local residents at Tom and Tiff's diner in Glenwood, Iowa. Walker is counting steps on his FitBit. Jeb Bush swears by a paleo diet. Bobby Jindal is a self-proclaimed "gym rat." With long travel days and a fresh slab of cherry pie never far away, the campaign trail is a notoriously unhealthy place to live. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
A man walks between two screens displaying new smart watches from fitbit at CES International, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in Las Vegas. Thousands of gadget companies from around the world gather this week in Las Vegas to show off their latest items. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Actress Jordana Brewster helps lead a work out, on behalf of Fitbit, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Fitbit flexed some muscle Thursday and its shares rocketed 50 percent higher in the first day of trading for the fitness tracking gear maker. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Four fitness trackers are shown in this photograph, in New York, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. They are, from left, Fitbit Force, Jawbone Up, Fitbug Orb and the Nike FuelBand SE. For aspiring health nuts and to inspire couch potatoes to get active, the latest crop of fitness gadgets will record much more than how many steps you took on any given day. From sleep patterns to calorie intake, mood and progress toward exercise goals, few aspects of life are left un-tracked for those in search for a more quantified self. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Fitness trackers, from left, Basis Peak, Adidas Fit Smart, Fitbit Charge, Sony SmartBand, and Jawbone Move, are posed for a photo next to an iPhone, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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It does have a weakness though: high frequencies. So if you're squeaking like a chipmunk, chances are the system won't be able to pick up your sounds. This also includes some consonants and vowels like "i" and "e" which have frequencies high enough to be suppressed by the system, according to the paper.

But it's not all wiretapping and espionage — the VibraPhone can be used for good. The researchers also see the system as a way to recover speech from the vibrations of vocal cords, facial bones or skull, which can help to build better assistive technology for individuals with speech impairment, TechCrunch reported.

And this isn't the first time researchers have translated sweet vibrations into words — researchers at MIT, Microsoft and Adobe previously created an algorithm that extracted audio from a vibrating potato-chip bag.

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