Two recent studies of mobile devices highlight how designers of smartphones and tablet computers neglect to fully comprehend the security and privacy risks of these devices. Cryptography Research found in its study that it is possible to eavesdrop on any smartphone or tablet PC as it is being used to buy something, bank online, or access a company's virtual private network.
A Cryptography Research executive says a criminal can decipher the process used to encrypt data and can then gain access to a financial account or company network, a type of attack that does not require the device to be modified in any way.
The research company says it is working with a major smartphone and tablet manufacturer to put cyber defenses in its devices. McAfee showed in a separate demonstration that there are several ways to remotely hack into Apple iOS, the iPad and iPhone operating system, by remotely activating microphones on a variety of test devices and recording nearby conversations. McAfee also demonstrated that it is possible to swipe keys and passwords and steal sensitive data such as emails and text messages. Researchers in both studies say these attacks can be carried out without the user's knowledge.
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