Experts at the Black Hat conference discuss vulnerable devices

Jul 27, 2012 13:56:23Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Experts at the Black Hat conference discuss vulnerable devices

The Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas draws thousands of tech experts from across the globe to find various solutions to issues with mobile and internet privacy. One aspect of the conference is to highlight how easy it is to hack into personal smartphones and other mobile devices. According to The New York Times, Charlie Miller of Accuvant successfully hacked into three different smartphones and was then able to control them remotely.

Miller hacked into a Samsung Nexus S, a Galaxy Nexus and a Nokia N9 by using near-field communication technology (N.F.C.). With the technology, he was able to see the person's photos, text messages, internet browser and even make calls from the phone, according to the media outlet.

The N.F.C. technology was created to allow cell phones to virtually communicate when near each other. For instance, it makes it easy for people to pay for items or swap business cards with their smartphones. N.F.C. is widely used on cell phones, and it is expected 70 million smartphones sold this year will include the technology. However, there are some issues that have to be ironed out, so it isn't so easy for hackers like Miller to access a person's personal information. N.F.C. is currently available for Google's Andriod phones, and it is expected to be used on iPhones soon as well, the news outlet reports.

Personal privacy threats do not just include smartphones. In fact, the Black Hat conference also discussed the problems with payment terminals. According to PCWorld, a German security researcher known only as "Nils" teamed up with Spanish security researcher Rafael Dominguez Vega to show how three different payment terminal models are easy to hack into.

These point-of sale terminals are used widely in the U.S. and the U.K. The experts showed how easy it was for them to access the credit cards and PIN numbers that were used on the devices. One hacking program can go as far as to block the payment attempt by an individual but still provide a receipt, misleading the consumer, according to the news source.

Prior to attending the event, the experts reported the problems to the three device manufacturers in hopes of correcting the issues and closing loopholes that threaten public security.