mSpy, the makers of a software-as-a-service product that claims to help more than a million paying customers spy on the mobile devices of their kids and partners, has leaked millions of sensitive records online, including passwords, call logs, text messages, contacts, notes and location data secretly collected from phones running the stealthy spyware.
Less than a week ago, security researcher Nitish Shah directed KrebsOnSecurity to an open database on the Web that allowed anyone to query up-to-the-minute mSpy records for both customer transactions at mSpy’s site and for mobile phone data collected by mSpy’s software. The database required no authentication.
In another strange tale from the kinetic-attack-meets-cyberattack department, earlier this week I heard from a loyal reader in Brazil whose wife was recently mugged by three robbers who nabbed her iPhone. Not long after the husband texted the stolen phone — offering to buy back the locked device — he soon began receiving text messages stating the phone had been found. All he had to do to begin the process of retrieving the device was click the texted link and log in to the phishing page mimicking Apple’s site.
A little-known feature of many modern smartphones is their ability to duplicate video on the device’s screen so that it also shows up on a much larger display — like a TV. However, new research shows that this feature may quietly expose users to a simple and cheap new form of digital eavesdropping.
Dubbed “video jacking” by its masterminds, the attack uses custom electronics hidden inside what appears to be a USB charging station. As soon as you connect a vulnerable phone to the appropriate USB charging cord, the spy machine hijacks the phone’s video display and records a video of everything you tap, type or view on it as long as it’s plugged in — including PINs, passwords, account numbers, emails, texts, pictures and videos.
If you use an Apple iPhone, iPad or other iDevice, now would be an excellent time to ensure that the machine is running the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system — version 9.3.1. Failing to do so could expose your devices to automated threats capable of rendering them unresponsive and perhaps forever useless.
An attack late last week that compromised the personal and business Gmail accounts of Matthew Prince, chief executive of Web content delivery system CloudFlare, revealed a subtle but dangerous security flaw in the 2-factor authentication process used in Google Apps for business customers. Google has since fixed the glitch, but the incident offers a timely reminder that two-factor authentication schemes are only as secure as their weakest component.
In a blog post on Friday, Prince wrote about a complicated attack in which miscreants were able to access a customer’s account on CloudFlare and change the customer’s DNS records. The attack succeeded, Prince said, in part because the perpetrators exploited a weakness in Google’s account recovery process to hijack his CloudFlare.com email address, which runs on Google Apps
Apple has issued a software update that fixes at least three serious security holes in supported versions of its iPhone, iPad, iPod and iPod Touch devices. The patch targets security weaknesses in the way iOS devices render PDF files. Experts… Read More »
The “phone-hacking” scandal that has gripped the U.K. is now making waves on this side of the pond. It stems from an alleged series of intrusions into the wireless voicemail boxes of high profile celebrities and 9/11 victims. The news stories about this scandal make it sound as if the attacks were sophisticated — an investigation into exactly what happened is still pending — but many people would be surprised to learn just how easy it is to “hack” into someone’s voicemail.
I’ve fallen a bit behind on blog posts about notable security updates (I was counting on August to be the slowest month this year, but so far it’s actually been the busiest!). Recently, Apple released a series of important patches that I haven’t covered here, so it’s probably easiest to mention them in all in one fell swoop.
One of the more interesting developments over the past week has been the debut of jailbreakme.com, a Web site that allows Apple customers to jailbreak their devices merely by visiting the site with their iPhone, iPad or iTouch. Researchers soon… Read More »
If you use your iPhone to connect to open or public Wi-Fi networks, it’s a good idea to tell the device to forget the wireless network’s name after you’re done using it, as failing to do so could make it easier for snoops to eavesdrop on your iPhone data usage.
For example, if you use your iPhone to connect to an open wireless network called “linksys,” — which happens to be the default, out-of-the-box name assigned to all Linksys home Wi-Fi routers — your iPhone will in the future automatically connect to any Wi-Fi network by that same name.
The potential security and privacy threat here is that an attacker could abuse this behavior to sniff the network for passwords and other sensitive information transmitted from nearby iPhones even when the owners of those phones have no intention of connecting to a wireless network, simply by giving his rogue access point a common name.