New hacks strike at heart of mobile innovations

By: | Published: August 7, 2015 8:26 PM

As fierce competition leads to rapid innovation in the smartphone market, hackers have pounced on cracks in defenses of developments on devices...

smartphone crimeSmartphones have become increasingly targets for cyber criminals as people cram the gadgets with troves of personal information and go on to use them for work. (Reuters)

As fierce competition leads to rapid innovation in the smartphone market, hackers have pounced on cracks in defenses of developments on devices at the heart of modern lifestyles, experts say.

Smartphones have become increasingly targets for cyber criminals as people cram the gadgets with troves of personal information and go on to use them for work.

“Mobile devices are taking a bigger place in businesses and in our lives,” Avi Bashan of Tel Aviv based cyber defense firm Check Point Software Technologies told AFP yesterday at a Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

“As more people use them for more things, attackers gain interest.”

Check Point has seen attacks rise during the past three years on the world’s leading mobile operating systems – Apple iOS and Google-backed Android, according to Bashan.

Check Point researchers at Black Hat revealed a vulnerability that allows hackers take over Android smartphones by taking advantage of a tool pre-installed that was intended to give tech support workers remote access to devices.

“It effects every version of Android,” Check Point mobile threat prevention director Ohad Bobrov said.

The hack can be triggered by tricking a smartphone user into installing an application rigged to reach out and connect with the pre-installed support tool, Bobrov explained.

In some cases the hack can be accomplished by sending a text message that a recipient doesn’t even have to open, he warned.

The text message tricks a smartphone into thinking it is connecting with a legitimate support technician remotely when it is actually linking to an online server commanded by a hacker.

“I need your phone number and that is it,” Bashan told AFP.

Bobrov said the flaw in Android software architecture has been disclosed to Google and smartphone makers.

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