Smartphones are vulnerable to hacks when connected to a network—whether cellular or wi-fi. In the third and final episode of Phreaked Out, they examine three real-time phone hacks – man-in-the middle attacks, the Snoopy exploit and intercepting cellular call data using an IMSI catcher.
Hacking into mobile phones is a walk in the park, say experts. All it takes is a single SMS sent from the hacker’s phone, to break into a phone and gain total control over it, including listening to recordings of phone conversations, reading text messages and even accessing passwords. Experts say that mobile is the new playground for hackers as these devices are easier to break into than PCs, and consumers pay less attention and are tardy when securing their phone.
Bram Bonné is a PhD student in computer science at the Expertise Centre for Digital Media at Hasselt University, where he specializes in computer security and privacy. During his PhD, he developed an interest in privacy-sensitive information leaking from smartphones and laptops. Bonné summarizes the basic Wi-Fi technology hackers exploit for “man-in-the-middle” attacks. He explains how your personal information is available to anyone tracking Wi-Fi traffic and some steps you can take to make these type of attacks more difficult.