Evidence Shows the Capability to Hack Via Sound Waves

Standard

Computer security researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina proved, yesterday, they have discovered a way to hack into a device using sound ways. This newly found weakness allows them to control or influence devices through tiny accelerometers. Accelerometers are instruments that measure acceleration and are manufactured as dynamic silicon chip-based devices used to sense movement or vibrations known as microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. They are used for navigating, determining the orientation of a tablet and calculating distance in fitness monitors. Accelerometers are standard in consumer products such as smartphones, Fitbits and automobiles.

In the paper highlighting the research, they demonstrate how they were able to add additional steps to a Fitbit monitor, as well as, play a “malicious” music file from a smartphone, demonstrating they can control the phone’s accelerometer. Kevin Fu, one author of the paper, stated, “It’s like the opera singer who hits the note to break a wine glass, only in our case, we can spell out words.” He went on to say, “You can think of it as a musical virus.”

In addition, research from the paper shows that with the toy car, they did not infiltrate the car’s microprocessor, but rather controlled the car by forcing the accelerometer to generate fake readings.

Vinny Troia, CEO of NightLion Security commented, “as we see a heightened push to develop self-driving vehicles from numerous companies, undetected vulnerabilities, such as this one, that could allow an attacker to remotely control a self-driving vehicle is disturbing, but a reality that should be seriously considered.”

Computer security researchers remarked that this is new insight into cybersecurity challenges in complex systems, which show how analog and digital components can interact in unpredictable ways.

The computer security researchers will be presenting their findings at the IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy in Paris next month.

IoT Teddy Bear Leaks Millions of Voice Recordings from Children and Parents

Standard

CloudPets’ connected stuffed animals leaked more than 2 million voice recordings of parents and children because of their poor database security. This is only the latest compromise happening with children’s toys.

The breach was first reported on Tuesday in a blog post by Troy Hunt, a Microsoft guru who specializes in cloud and online security. Hunt informs that CloudPets’ data was saved to a MongoDB database on an Amazon-hosted service that was publicly available and required no authentication, not even a password. Hunt goes on to say that the database was filed by Shodan, a search engine known for finding connected things, and evidence shows that since December 25, 2016 the stored data had been accessed multiple times by multiple people. CloudPets’ parent company, Spiral Toys, was notified at least four times about the breach, however, Hunt explains that some attempts to contact the company failed due to dead email addresses. In any event, there is no way Spiral Toys was not aware of the leak due to evidence left from criminal ransom demands.

Although this is a wake-up call to parents, businesses can take a lot away from the CloudPets breach, explains cybersecurity expert, Vinny Troia, CEO of NightLion Security. “Many businesses have not taken cybersecurity as seriously as they should be, until it’s too late,” Troia continues, “they take shortcuts that do not properly protect them against cyber criminals, and then are floored when their system becomes compromised.” Troia goes onto to explain that today cybersecurity needs to be at the forefront of businesses’ minds or they are going to be the next Spiral Toys.

The CloudPets incident is only the most recent compromise involving IoT toys, but they are certainly not the last. Both businesses and parents need to take the proper steps to protect the user data and their children from the darker side of the cyber world.

Security Experts Hack Medical Devices

Standard

Shodan, a hacker search engine that scans the Internet for connected devices, has helped hack into devices such as pacemakers, MRI scanners, cardiology devices, and other smart devices. Most people wouldn’t expect something so personal to be able to be hacked. Most of the objects listed on the Fox News report don’t even have screens, yet they can be controlled by an outside source.

This is an extremely serious issue that should be researched in order to find solutions. When people experience these personal hacks, it needs to be investigated thoroughly. There are so many unknown scenarios that could happen to any device. Hacking to this extent, and with this regularity, is a relatively new problem in the tech industry. With cyber attacks on the rise it is becoming increasingly important for technology companies to research or invest in digital security options.