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Hacking Smart-Phones by Using Malevolent Chips in Replacement Parts


Smart-phone owners currently have another thing to worry of - hackers may hijack their phones through specially treated replacement parts.


The Negev located Ben-Gurion University researchers have shown how hardware replacements like controller gadgets for wireless charging, NFC readers, touch-screens etc can now get added with one kind of chip which manipulates communication on the device.


It's becoming more and more easier for hackers towards breaking into smart-phones by using malicious applications from application stores; however according to one new study, it's possible to compromise a user's data by substituting his cracked mobile screen with an intermediate supplier's screen that contains malevolent chips.


The researchers from the Israeli university recently found that it's potentially possible for attackers to get hold over a victim's tablet or smart-phone by using a special kind of replacement screen. The screen would be certain 3rd-party screen with a malevolent chip embedded under it. It would help log keyboard entries as well as patterns, plant harmful applications, take pictures followed with e-mailing the same to remote hackers devoid of the end-user knowing about it. Notably, the price of these chips is not even $10, while capable of being mass produced which intermediate service centers can procure. The chips closely resemble genuine chips thus making their identification hard. Gadgets.ndtv.com posted this on the Web, August 21, 2017.


It has been seen that over 50% of smart-phone owners went through a damaged screen one time or the other therefore, abusing an intermediate touch-screen can very well occur. Nevertheless, the majority of latest smart-phones have a compact make, so gaining entry into the device's interiors to manipulate is difficult. There are secure modules on Apple's iPhones too which keep utilities such as Touch ID safe vis-à-vis remote tampering.


Albeit researchers performed their study on Android gadgets, they still cautioned that similar attacks were likely to target iPhones too. The research findings were presented at the Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies, 2017.


In conclusion the researchers state that device designers require thinking about replacement components as keeping them beyond the trust limit of the smart-phones, while design their protective solutions appropriately.

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