Smartphones hacked through insecure Wi-Fi

Researchers break security in Apple, Nokia, HTC and T-Mobile devices to gain access to email passwords.

hacker word

Security researchers have successfully performed man-in-the middle-attacks' (MITM) against four popular smartphones.

A team from SMobile Systems released a paper on how they broke the security provided by SSL on the Nokia N95, HTC tilt, T-Mobile G1 Android and Apple iPhone 3GS through an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

A MITM attack is where a hacker can intercept the communication between two systems by relaying messages between them. The attacker re-routes this traffic, where they can create new connections or kill existing connections. They can also view and replay anything that is private between the machines.

Through tools available to a hacker such as Arpspoof and SSLStrip, the researchers tried to gain access to an email user name and password by breaking a smartphone's SSL encryption protection using a laptop.

Modern web browsers rely on SSL certificates, but researcher Moxie Marlinspike has already proven that this can be easily broken.

Targeting a smartphone's mailbox, web browser or email application, the testers were successful in getting email login credentials for all four devices.

The report said: "[It] underscores the fact that the use of public Wi-Fi hotspots should be approached with caution and care should be taken that confidential or private data is adequately encrypted, when it becomes necessary to access such data."

The SMobile researchers said that such applications which could encrypt smartphone data were scarce, and without it a user would have to make sure that they were using a trusted and secure Wi-Fi network to keep safe.

They also said that enterprise smartphones need security software providing firewall and antivirus capabilities, and they should be treated with the same care as PCs or laptops.

Featured Resources

BCDR buyer's guide for MSPs

How to choose a business continuity and disaster recovery solution

Download now

The definitive guide to IT security

Protecting your MSP and your customers

Download now

Cost of a data breach report 2020

Find out what factors help mitigate breach costs

Download now

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Recommended

Data breach exposes widespread fake reviews on Amazon
data breaches

Data breach exposes widespread fake reviews on Amazon

7 May 2021
TsuNAME vulnerability could enable DDoS attacks on major DNS servers
distributed denial of service (DDOS)

TsuNAME vulnerability could enable DDoS attacks on major DNS servers

7 May 2021
What are SSH keys?
cyber security

What are SSH keys?

7 May 2021
Google’s about to push everyone into two-factor authentication
Security

Google’s about to push everyone into two-factor authentication

6 May 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021