In a new television series, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) cybercrime unit discovers that mobile phone charging stations in an airport are compromised.
Sensitive personal information of people who charge their phones in those stations are stolen. Thieves acquire credit cards in the victims’ names or blackmail people using incriminating photos and files from the hacked phones.
I thought the story was interesting and wondered if it could happen in real life.
A recent media report indicated that the risk, while probably just a product of the TV show’s scriptwriter’s fertile imagination, had become real. The Global Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab has warned that recharging mobile devices at public charging stations could result in the theft of sensitive data and put smartphone users at risk.
Kaspersky Lab said the amount of data transferred in the “handshake,” which happens during charging, varies depending on the device and host.
But, in general, each smartphone transfers the same basic information, the company said, like device name, manufacturer, serial number, etc.
Kaspersky Lab, using a computer and a standard USB or flash drive cable to charge a smartphone, was able to install an application that could later compromise the device even if no malware was used.
The company said that, so far, no actual incidents of data theft involving public charging stations had been published, but loss of sensitive information resulting from having mobile phones connected to computers had been observed.
Kaspersky Lab did not offer any suggestions on what people should do if they need to charge their phones in a public place. But perhaps it is best to have a fully charged power bank handy at all times.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has finally warned the public about text messages supposedly from a grandparent who sent mobile phone load to the wrong person. A follow-up message tells the recipient of the mistake and asks him/her to pass on the missent load to the sender’s “grandchild.”
I have actually warned readers about this more than a month ago, after Globe Telecom confirmed it was a scam. But I have heard that some people have actually done as they were asked and sent phone load to the number given.
The NTC warning, which is in Filipino, advises the public not to believe text messages coming from a “grandparent” asking people to send a wayward phone load to the intended recipient—the lolo or lola’s grandchild.
Greenpeace Philippines has launched the Solar Rooftop Challenge, an aggressive information campaign to highlight the potentials of producing solar energy from the rooftops of urban middle class homes, visible government buildings, schools, universities and churches in the Philippines.
The campaign will showcase existing solar rooftop installations and share stories of people who have joined the “solar rooftop revolution” in the country.
In a recent media event, Greenpeace also unveiled “JuanaSolar Busts a Myth in Minutes,” a series of short videos featuring Saab Magalona, Yam Concepcion and Dingdong Dantes that aims to bust the myths surrounding the use of solar energy.
Through the stories that will show energy independence through solar energy, Greenpeace hopes to break “myths surrounding renewable energy and create a powerful testament on its practicality, cost-effectiveness and reliability to propel the Philippines to a future powered by clean and sustainable energy.”
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