Friday, December 23, 2011

Kevin's Security Scrapbook: Workers Warned to Keep Smartphones Safe at Christmas Parties

Workers Warned to Keep Smartphones Safe at Christmas Parties

It is not just an espionage issue, there are a lot of emotions going on during this season. So stalkers or stalking type actions are also an issue. Many of the Smart Phones have tracking capabilities, easily turned on, and many of the simple spy programs just use these to show locations. Some allow others to hear conversations, or at minimum know what numbers are being called.

When you get some quiet time, just try and see what is turned on. Look for the GPS to be active, unless your are using GPS it should be turned off. Check your Bluetooth app's, if it is turned on, it often can be hijacked to send info to another phone even spoofed to send the conversations to another phone, thinking it is dealing with a Bluetooth head set. Smart phones are not the only target, virtually any phone that has Bluetooth capability can be attacked. On a plane the other day, I found 8 phones sending Bluetooth data, out that I could exploit.

It take normally less than 5 seconds to steal your whole contact list, as well as calendar data from any Bluetooth enabled phone. Keeping it turned off is the best bet, but if you are using a headset, then limiting the Bluetooth, to only one active Bluetooth, contact is also a help. The bad news there is that Bluetooth data is not encrypted, so everything you are communicating to your head set, as well as the communications of the person you are talking to, are open to being spied on by anyone that buys some very simple applications. Think of your Bluetooth as more a party line for those around you, in some instances they could if they wanted join in the conversation.

Happy holidays, and remember that Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet, you just got for Christmas is also capable of leaking info, like all your passwords, as you type them into the tablet to log on to your financial account or the credit card data you just used to buy that on line accessory you just had to have. I have over this Christmas season, heard two people giving credit card info over Bluetooth headsets, that just got garbled into my conversation as they passed.

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