USB-Charging ‘Handshake’ Exposes Smartphones To Infection

Research by security firm says phone details can be accessed and malware transferred when device is plugged into computer.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab said yesterday that smartphones can be compromised through a standard USB connection if plugged into a computer. A proof-of-concept experiment by researchers at the company has raised questions of how safe it is to charge devices through unknown points and public booths.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab explain that during the “handshake” period when a smartphone is connected to a PC or Mac for charging, a lot of data is revealed to the computer — including device name, manufacturer, type, serial number, and electronic chip ID. This, they fear, could be used by interested parties or cybercriminals for collecting data on a user.

The company warns that malware can be transferred from a charging point into a mobile phone and high-profile people could be made targets of professional hackers.

For more details on Kaspersky Lab’s new research, read here.

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