Friday April 3, 2020
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Vulnerability in 4G May Help Hackers To Impersonate You: Researchers

For a successful attack, the attacker must be in the vicinity of the victim's mobile phone, said the researchers

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An attacker can upload secret company documents and to network operators or law enforcement authorities, it would look as if the victim is the perpetrator. Pixabay

Researchers have found a serious vulnerability in LTE/4G mobile communication standard that can help hackers impersonate other phone users, take a streaming service subscription at your expense or publish secret company documents under someone else’s identity.

The vulnerability — which affects virtually all mobile phones, tablets and some connected household appliances — may also hamper investigations of law enforcement agencies because attackers can not only make purchases in the victim’s name but can also access websites using the victim’s identity.

For example, an attacker can upload secret company documents and to network operators or law enforcement authorities, it would look as if the victim is the perpetrator, said researchers from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum public university.

“An attacker can book services, for example stream shows, but the owner of the attacked phone would have to pay for them,” said Professor Thorsten Holz from Horst Gortz Institute for IT Security.

Only changing the hardware design would mitigate the threat. The team is attempting to close the security gap in the latest mobile communication standard 5G, which is currently rolled out.

“Mobile network operators would have to accept higher costs, as the additional protection generates more data during the transmission. In addition, all mobile phones would have to be replaced and the base station expanded. That is something that will not happen in the near future,” said David Rupprecht.

The problem is the lack of integrity protection: data packets are transmitted encrypted between the mobile phone and the base station, which protects the data against eavesdropping.

However, it is possible to modify the exchanged data packets. “We don’t know what is where in the data packet, but we can trigger errors by changing bits from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 0,” said Rupprecht. By provoking such errors in the encrypted data packets, the researchers can make a mobile phone and the base station decrypt or encrypt messages.

Hackers
Researchers have found a serious vulnerability in LTE/4G mobile communication standard that can help hackers impersonate other phone users, take a streaming service subscription at your expense or publish secret company documents under someone else’s identity. Pixabay

They not only can convert the encrypted data traffic between the mobile phone and the base station into plain text, they can also send commands to the mobile phone, which are then encrypted and forwarded to the provider – such as a purchase command for a subscription.

The researchers from Bochum used so-called software-defined radios for the attacks. These devices enable them to relay the communication between mobile phone and base station. Thus, they trick the mobile phone to assume that the software-defined radio is the benign base station; to the real network, in turn, it looks as if the software-defined radio was the mobile phone.

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For a successful attack, the attacker must be in the vicinity of the victim’s mobile phone, said the researchers. (IANS)

Next Story

Video Meeting App Zoom Prone to Hacking: Report

Zoom bug can let hackers steal your Windows password

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The video conferencing app Zoom has an unpatched bug can let hackers steal users Windows password. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Slammed for the lack of users privacy and security by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and cybersecurity experts, video meeting app Zoom is also prone to hacking, a new report has claimed, saying an unpatched bug can let hackers steal users Windows password.

The �Zoom client for Windows’ is vulnerable to the ‘UNC path injection’ vulnerability that could let remote attackers steal login credentials for victims’ Windows systems, reports TheHacckeNews.

The latest finding by cybersecurity expert @_g0dmode, has also been “confirmed by researcher Matthew Hickey and Mohamed A. Baset,’ the report said late Wednesday.

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The attack involves the “SMBRelay technique” wherein Windows automatically exposes a user’s login username and NTLM password hashes to a remote server, when attempting to connect and download a file hosted on it.

“The attack is possible only because Zoom for Windows supports remote UNC paths, which converts such potentially insecure URLs into hyperlinks for recipients in a personal or group chat,” the report claimed. Besides Windows credentials, the vulnerability can also be exploited to launch any programme present on a targeted computer.

zoom hacking
The Zoom client for Windows’ is vulnerable to the ‘UNC path injection’ vulnerability that could let remote attackers steal login credentials for victims’ Windows systems, reports TheHacckeNews. Pixabay

Zoom has been notified of this bug but the flaw is yet to be fixed. “Users are advised to either use an alternative video conferencing software or Zoom in your web browser instead of the dedicated client app,” said the report. Another media report claimed that Zoom doesn’t use end-to-end encryption to protect calling data of its users.

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As businesses, schools and colleges and millions of SMBs use video conferencing tool Zoom during the work-from-home scenario, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned people about porn material being popped up during the video meetings.

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The Boston branch of the law enforcement agency said it has received multiple reports of Zoom conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.

The video conferencing app late last month updated its iOS app to remove the software development kit (SDK) that was providing users’ data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature. (IANS)