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Old Mar 23, 2013, 06:14 AM   #1
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Warning: Hackers targeting smartphones

CLEVELAND - Smartphone attacks have doubled in the past year, and an expert told 5 On Your Side Investigators the trend will continue.
"This is now becoming a target of choice," said security expert Murray Jennex,

Smartphones have become mobile wallets, and Jennex said they are getting as easy to hack as a desktop computer.

Jennex said Android and Windows phones have always been the primary target for hackers because those phones have an open network.

He said they let you download just about anything, including fake applications that will steal your information.

"The viruses are a lot more effective on those systems," said Jennex.

But Jennex also said Apple products are ripe for thieves in 2013.

He said most Apple users know that Apple has a closed operating system and you can only download apps through the Apple store -- apps that are validated by the company.

"So they have this feeling that this is a safe phone," Jennex said.

Over the last three months, Jennex said researchers have proven that the iPhone can be attacked.

"What's been demonstrated is if you can get a virus into the Safari browser that will then tell the iPhone to send all the information stored on the phone to a set address," said Jennex.

Documents, information from any bank applications or anything else saved on your phone would be sent to hackers.

"It will dump your passwords, it will dump your pictures, it will dump your phone log," said Jennex.

5 On Your Side had Jennex email us a virus, and the email with the virus directed one of our NewsChannel5 producers to a link through Safari.

A few minutes after the link was clicked, the iPhone 3GS shut off.

5 On Your Side never had any problems with the phone before, and the battery was at 60 percent.

"It's possible something in there is attacking it and it's trying to protect itself," Jennex said.

Jennex wasn't sure what happened to the phone, and said to take it to the Apple store to find out. A technician said there was no way to ever know what clicking on that link did. He did not think it was malware but he said it was possible clicking on the link could have shut off the phone.

Jennex said not knowing is scary too.

"Bottom line here, phones are no safer than your laptop," said Jennex.

Meanwhile, the iPhone has a security flaw with the passcode on its new iOS 6.1 operating system.

Thieves have a way to break through the lock and into the phone. The person breaking in can listen to your voicemail, see your photos and make calls from the iPhone.

Apple is aware of the passcode flaw, and will have a fix in the next software update.


True? How to protect against hackers?
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 06:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by chevy57 View Post

True? How to protect against hackers?
Ask news corp.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 09:05 AM   #3
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So reading through this I find it very interesting, and yet they didn't it or give you any suggestions. Pretty annoying article. They didn't even say what happened to the 3GS.

That said, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out as people find more ways to get the information out of your phone.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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The story is rife with half-truths, and is intended solely as a ratings grab. Most likely on the day this story was aired, there were lots of quick promo advertisements with a deep, male voice speaking in an ominous tone: "think your smartphone is safe? Think again! What thieves and hackers can find about you from your iPhone, tonight at 11!"

They likely teased it further throughout the evening newscasts to keep people watching, and then finally aired their story around the 11:25 slot. And to live up to the generated hype, a lot of misinformation based on half-facts are spewed out, to scare people who aren't informed... usually old rubes who know nothing about that scary newfangled internet, and make the mistake of relying on local TV news stations to explain technology to them.

And what ended up happening? Some link was sent to an iPhone 3GS running who-knows-what version of iOS, and it subsequently shut off "a few minutes later." Which by the way... can kinda happen if you leave an iPhone sitting for few minutes. The video does show the screen dimming, not that much unlike an auto-sleep about to happen. The edit where the video freezes right as the backlight goes dark (but the screen doesn't actually turn off) is kinda suspicious... you'd think if a link made an iPhone shut off or otherwise go berserk, they'd be more than willing to show the full sequence.

Did the link cause the 3GS to malfunction? We don't really know and aren't directly told it was the cause, but it's suggested that this could've been the case. Does this link do anything to newer iPhones? No idea, but I imagine if it did, this "news" team would've been chomping at the bit to tell you so. And isn't it a little odd that they were showing and holding iPhone 4/S and 5 models throughout the entire piece, but the "virus" was tested on a beat up, old 3G/S?

Was data actually stolen from the device? We don't know that either, but again, if that had happened, these "journalists" probably would've been all over it, and would've shown Jennex the "security expert" displaying the information on some Hackers-esque, beat-up, linux-running laptop, instead of just making vague suggestions that maybe it happened.

In any case, The real nasty passcode bug was fixed, and workarounds exists to bypass the new passcode bug (on newer phones it's as simple as having Siri turned on, and on the iPhone 4 you turn voice command off).

Yes, security threats DO exist (if they didn't, iPhones wouldn't be jailbreakable), and it might be possible for an attacker to hack an iPhone without jailbreaking it, though aside from the voice command issue, there's currently nothing else out there in the wild as an active exploit, and there's probably far easier ways for an identify thief or hacker to get what they want from you than to hack your iPhone.

As always, your best defense is to keep your smartphone's OS software up to date, and be cautious about random URLs, software and links people who you don't trust are sending you. Pretty much the same precautions you should take on a desktop/laptop computer.

Bottom line: iOS users shouldn't be too smug about security, as neither should any other smartphone user. But the vast majority of security threats can be avoided by simply not doing anything stupid on your smartphone. And panicking based on a nightly newscast's ratings grab isn't helpful, either.

Last edited by scaredpoet; Mar 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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Using your phone, don't click on obscure links in emails sent to you any more than you would when using a desktop computer. Common Sense 101.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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I'm surprised they didn't offer up a scene from a James Bond movie with one smartphone apparently copying an others information as tangible evidence.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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Lol... I have my doubts about all of that. Obviously exercising some caution before tapping shady link, downloading questionable apps without reviews, etc will help you avoid all that fuss... I'm not too worried.
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