As technology gets more sophisticated, hackers fine-tune the ways they are able to access our personal information. I consider myself to be up-to-date on these types of attacks, but just this week I had a close call. I caught it in time, but it was an eye opener. Digital theft is becoming more and more common, and most people I know have experienced it. I didn’t know until this week that the lighting or a song in a coffee shop could trigger malware on our smartphones.
I read about this several days ago, and it’s stuck with me so I wanted to share it with you. The purpose of sharing this information isn’t to scare anyone, but it’s more to make it known that this type of weakness exists so future smartphone developers can make adjustments for this kind of thing.
Sharms Zawaod, a researcher at the University of Alabama, recently presented this information at a tech conference in China. You can read the details of the findings on the University website at UAB Research Finds New Channels To Trigger Mobile Malware.
In a nutshell, this is how it works. First of all, in order for this malware to be triggered, it has to already be installed on your phone. Sharms and the team were able to initiate the malware and control people’s smartphones from a distance of 55 feet. They were able to do that by communicating with the smartphones through the lighting or a song in a coffee shop. These types of communications wouldn’t be detectable by the smartphone user.
Since our phones are always turned on (which is one of the main things that makes this invasion possible), our smartphones would pick up the communication embedded in sounds or lights and then act accordingly in response to those hidden messages. According to the researches, it’s a complicated system to setup now, but it can be done. They say it will only get easier as technology becomes more advanced. All I can say is wow. Who would ever think something as simple as the lighting or a song in a coffee shop could be digitally dangerous?