|By Shelly Palmer||
|February 3, 2013 11:45 PM EST||
In the PC world, hacking, viruses and cybercrime started out fairly slowly, with pranks and viruses meant to causes a nuisance. Along the way, hackers learned how to use technology to steal real money and never be caught. Organized crime and hacker syndicates are now commonplace, and are training tomorrow’s cyber thieves. Cybercrime has surpassed drug trafficking as the most lucrative illegal business.
The Mobile Market is Ripe for Hackers
As we begin 2013, the number of mobile connected devices now exceeds the world population. Not only is it a much larger market, but one that contains a customer base that includes seniors and preteens, the favorite targets of savvy hackers. Mobile hacking is on the rise, but it has come close to hitting its stride. The number of mobile malware cases targeting Google’s Android platform went from 30,000 to 175,000 from the 2nd to 3rd quarters of 2012, according to recent report from Trend Micro.
The PC industry and its growth have spawned a new generation of tech savvy users… and the largest numbers of hackers ever to exist. Moving to mobile devices is the logical next step. As Billy the Kid famously answered when he was asked why he robbed banks: “That’s where the money is.”
Hacking mobile devices is certainly not new and good hackers don’t discriminate against any platforms or operating systems. There have already been well publicized hacks of celebrity cell phones as early as 2005. A teen famously hacked into Paris Hilton’s mobile device and revealed contacts and photos online. The same skills that might make good pranks or be the envy of friends are used for far more sinister and profitable attacks. The same teen was involved in the attack on the LexisNexis Group, exposing the personal information of more than 300,000 consumers.
The Mobile Device Makers Dirty Little Secret
Mobile manufacturers are making it easy for hackers to see everything you do. Because of the small form factor of these devices, manufacturers use a form fill feature that uses your keystrokes to determine what word you are typing. Its intentions are good in that it makes it easier for you to text, but it gives hackers access to EVERYTHING you have ever typed since you booted the phone.
They have, in essence, embedded a keylogger on every device. All your keystrokes are stored in an unencrypted cache file. All a hacker needs to do is write malware that accesses that cache and provides that data to them. If anyone is attending the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco on February 25-March 1 in San Francisco, StrikeForce Technologies will be showing how this is done at Booth 539.
Hackers can also design malware that seeks out certain words or phrases asking just the keystrokes that follow. They look for bank names (to steal your login/password credentials), your company’s VPN URL (for a potential data breach), retail sites (to steal your credit card information), as well as college application and student loan companies (to gain access to your personal and financial information).
Mobile malware has already been used for some of the world largest data breaches. FinFisher, Loozfon and Dougalek, are examples of mobile malware that have already had their day in the sun. FinFisher is a piece of spyware that hijacks your Android phone so it can be controlled remotely. It has used web links and SMS system update texts to infiltrate your device. Loozfon will steal your number and your address book. Dougalek is an SMS Trojan that led to one of the largest data breaches in history (according to Kaspersky Labs, SMS Trojans account for more than half of all mobile malware). When these types of malware are on your system, problems will follow.
Some may tell you that Apple iOS is more secure, but that isn’t necessarily true. Apple devices only run one application at a time, which makes it impossible (at this point) to run anti-malware in the background. It is true that the majority of hacks currently occur on Android devices, but that’s mainly because that’s where the larger number of users reside. In July 2012, malware was found for the first time in the IOS (Apple) App store.
The most common ways mobile malware infects your mobile devices is through app stores, phishing attacks/adware, SMS Trojans or root access malware. Google Play (Android App Store) and Apple App Store each have anti-virus programs that seek out infected files, but just as in the PC world, they are only effective against known malware. That still leaves the door wide open for zero day attacks, and any newly written malware (thousands are written every day). Malware can also be hidden inside popular applications.
There’s a Good Chance You’re Already Infected
Some reports indicate that 50 percent of mobile devices already have unpatched vulnerabilities. If your device is infected, it can be used to perpetrate friends, family, coworkers or breach your company’s VPN. Many of these malware programs include keyloggers that track every keystroke you make on your mobile keypad. They steal your credentials, personal information, login/password for banks, social media, VPN and have that information sent to them in forms of email SMS or even phone calls. Some malicious programs will just trigger your device to continuously call or text 866 or 900 numbers.
How Can I Tell if I’m Infected?
- Look for performance issues like slow responses or quirks you haven’t noticed before
- Lock up. Ransomware will lock your device and ask for money (or to click a link) to unlock it. When unlocking the device they often install keyloggers hitting you yet again.
- Watch your call history. Look for calls you don’t remember making
Mobile device hacking (and keylogging in particular) involves a wide range of crimes, including: identity theft, credit card fraud, data breaches and even physical theft (home robbery, abductions, and more). Imagine your teenage daughter is texting her friend, saying she is home alone, unaware that a keylogger is on her system. The criminal knows her address and that she is alone.
Even your photos are at risk. Actress Scarlett Johansson’s photos were stolen from her phone and posted online. Imagine what the result of a sexting incident posted online can do to someone’s reputation. A simple keylogger could ruin lives, cause terrible embarrassment, or get you fired from your job.
Download some sort of anti-virus software. Anti-virus vendors that make solutions for mobile include the usual suspects like Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, Lookout, Sophos, and Trend Micro, among others. Most experts agree that they do little to prevent malware on mobile devices. The entire premise of anti-malware is flawed because it only protects from the “known.” It’s akin to arresting criminals and assuming that will end crime. Although they are only marginally effective, it’s better than nothing.
Anti-malware software should be paired with keystroke encryption. StrikeForce Technologies’ MobileTrust solution provides keystroke encryption that encrypts all of your keystrokes, making it impossible for hackers (even zero day attacks) to steal your information (all hackers will see are 1234567890123456789 etc.). It also includes a password vault that stores all passwords in an encrypted database, a strong password generator enables users to create and store hard-to-crack passwords, two-factor authentication and an encrypted database.
Additional Tips to Potentially Prevent Malware
- Assume anything you type (or photograph you take) is visible to the world. Unless you have enabled keystroke encryption, don’t type anything you don’t want exposed.
- Disable the features of the phone you don’t use (less for hackers to work with)
- Check out application reviews and reliability before downloading
- Be cautious of any deals that sound too good to be true (watch the home based business scams)
- Be very careful about the types of geo-location apps you download
- If you are suspicious about a message from a friend, do not open it. Verify its origin (contact your friend) before proceeding.
- Don’t connect to unknown wireless networks
Remember, it’s up to YOU to protect yourself.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Jan. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 3,387
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
Jan. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,459
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 3,261
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 31, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 3,665
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Jan. 31, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,719
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 2,583
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 3,245
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 3,243
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,460
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 31, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,919
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EST Reads: 2,416
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Jan. 31, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,907
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 31, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,870
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Jan. 31, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 2,088
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jan. 31, 2015 08:30 AM EST Reads: 3,185
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Jan. 31, 2015 08:30 AM EST Reads: 3,083
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Jan. 31, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 2,003
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Jan. 31, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 3,227
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Jan. 31, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 3,511
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Jan. 31, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,127