Understanding Policies: Disable Cortana/Siri

By Zach DeMeyer Posted November 21, 2019

GPO Like Policy

By implementing Policies, JumpCloud® admins can automate much of their system security management. IT organizations can implement the Disable Cortana/Siri Policies for Windows® and Mac®, respectively, to prevent potential mishaps.

What are the Disable Cortana/Siri Policies?

The Disable Cortana Policy for Windows and Disable Siri Policy for Mac automatically stop the use of digital assistant software across entire fleets of Windows/Mac systems. The Policies leverage native system APIs via the JumpCloud system agent to disable Cortana/Siri.

Why Use These Policies?

Although digital assistant software provides convenience, recent news reports have shown us that they might be more trouble than they’re worth. For instance, researchers found that a hacker can use an ultrasonic transducer to create inaudible sounds that activate the majority of digital assistant software. Once activated, the attacker can transmit commands using the high-frequency sounds to gain access to the device. This entire attack can be carried out with little to no trace, meaning that almost any machine with Cortana/Siri enabled is at risk.

Cortana can also be used to run PowerShell commands from above the login window. In a similar fashion to the example above, a hacker can use voice commands to activate Cortana (voice activation is a native Cortana feature). After a bit of blind interfacing, the attacker uploads a set of shells that are executed through PowerShell. These shells give the hacker the ability to perform a number of commands, including the alarming ability to change passwords on the system.

Microsoft® has since released a patch to address this vulnerability, but organizations running older versions of Windows are still potentially at risk. Beyond security issues, however, digital assistant software also raises questions of privacy. If a system with Cortana/Siri enabled is constantly “listening” for voice activation, then there’s no question that it also hears the general conversations going on around it. This opens up the possibility for sensitive information to be collected.

By utilizing the Disable Cortana/Siri Policies, JumpCloud-managed organizations can forego these risks by avoiding voice-activated assistants altogether.

How to Use the Disable Cortana/Siri Policies

JumpCloud admins can simply enter the Policies tab of the JumpCloud Admin Portal and apply Policies to user and system groups with just a few clicks. 

One of the core benefits of using Policies like Disable Cortana/Siri is the fact that, with JumpCloud, Policies can be applied across an organization at scale in an instant. Policies can also be added on a per system basis for fine-tuned control.

Not a JumpCloud Customer?

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® is the first cloud directory service. You can get started with JumpCloud and Policies like Disable Cortana/Siri, among many other identity management features, absolutely free. Try JumpCloud today and your first 10 users/systems are on us for as long as you need them.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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