By Stephfon Guidry
While the jingle bells are no longer ringing and it’s time to ring in the New Year to the ringtones of our cell phones. Christmas was quite merry for cell phone providers nation-wide, recorded astounding sales and downloads during the closing of this year. Communication may be the intention however hackers are taking advantage of the Cellular devices bringing people together.
Apple’s app downloads are at 10 billion and climbing this year alone, Android markets are making their own records with around 7 billion downloads. The numbers don’t lie cell phone users are downloading almost 1 billion apps a month the equivalent of 33 million a day. HuffingtonPost.com reported data on the holiday shopping sprees, “The data was reported by Flurry Analytics, which creates tools that thousands of developers use to track usage of their mobile applications.” Flurry Analytics’ reports prove that the economic state is in a positive swing which also means social deviants will arise—in this case remote Hacking.
Cellular devices, Smart-phones, Blackberry is the tech we cannot live without is completely become vulnerable to remote hacking due to a wireless technology. The program instructs users to send texts or call a phone number according to phone experts. Karsten Nohl, head of German Research Security Labs says, “They could use the vulnerability in the GSM network technology, which is used by billions of people in about 80 percent of the global mobile market, to make calls or send texts to expensive, premium phone and messaging services in scams.” (Fox News.com) Nohl commented on the state of security of cell phones after attending a hacking convention in Berlin on Tuesday. Previously the U.S. security think tank Strategic Forecasting Inc (Strattfor) was hacked days before the convention and that names of corporate subscribers became public. Hackers pose as bous business lines or mobile numbers sending messages or calls and phone users don’t notice a problem typically until they receive their phone bill.
Security risks of this magnitude require immediate attention and are being dealt with internationally. Germany’s T-Mobile and Frances SFR presently offer the best protection against this hack, by allowing their customers to log into the gsmmap.org and track how their operators are performing and partake in rating their carrier’s security. Fox News reports, “Researchers reviewed 32 operators in 11 countries and rated their performance based on how easy it was for them to intercept the calls, impersonate someone’s device or track the device.” Nohl candidly critiqued the study by saying that their needed to be more awareness of the problem, that the mobile devices could be protected better simply by upgrading the networks.
Cell phones evolved from a briefcase in the 90’s to a tiny handheld children’s play thing of today, but truly how safe are we when hackers are taking advantage of our mild mobile security?