Computer scientists at Rutgers University have shown how a familiar type of personal computer security threat can now attack new generations of smart mobile phones, with the potential to cause more serious consequences.
The researchers, who are presenting their findings at a mobile computing workshop this week in Maryland, demonstrated how such a software attack could cause a smart phone to eavesdrop on a meeting, track its owner’s travels, or rapidly drain its battery to render the phone useless. These actions could happen without the owner being aware of what happened or what caused them.
“Smart phones are essentially becoming regular computers,” said Vinod Ganapathy, assistant professor of computer science in Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences. “They run the same class of operating systems as desktop and laptop computers, so they are just as vulnerable to attack by malicious software, or ‘malware.’”
Smart phones are cellular telephones that also offer Internet accessibility, texting and e-mail capabilities and a variety of programs commonly called “apps,” or applications. Continue reading.