Last night I was interviewed on KMOV-TV Channel 4 in St. Louis about smartphone hacking. I was asked by Jasmine Huda to comment about an article in USA Today “Hackers prey on smartphone use at work during holidays” and about the general issue of smartphone hacking.
The USA Today article is primarily about users whose smartphone connects to both their corporate accounts and their personal accounts. The angle was that the smartphone becomes a new attack vector to penetrate corporate networks via the personal accounts on these devices. While this attack seems plausible in theory and will no doubt happen, it is hardly widespread today. I commented that smartphone hacking is definitely on the rise, with Android devices and their open ecosystem most common, while at the other end of the spectrum is the iPhone with its closed ecosystem and minimal hacking reported. However, there is still the potential for iPhone hacking as demonstrated recently by Charlie Miller who got his application accepted in the App Store despite having malware in it.
Besides paying attention to what apps you run and what links you follow, you also need to pay attention to the physical security of your smartphone. With so much personal information stored in it, having a smartphone password protected is a must, as is the ability to remotely wipe the phone if lost. In my technothriller novel Counting from Zero, the main character Mick O’Malley temporarily loses possession of his smartphone. Being the overly paranoid type, he immediately discards the phone hardware, replaces it, then reinstalls all his information on it.
Today, a bigger concern than smartphone hacking is smartphone privacy, and the personal information that apps are routinely sharing without really informing the user, but this is a topic for another day.