How cyber attackers access mobile phones when charging in public – NCC

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Nigerian Communications Commission’s Cyber Security Incident Response Team has informed Nigerians on a method used by cyber attackers to gain unauthorised entry into unsuspecting mobile phone users devices when they charge their mobile phones at public charging stations.

NCC-CSIRT said the method, known as Juice Jacking, is part of two cyber vulnerabilities it identified, the other being Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance Vulnerability, which targets only Android Operating System.

This was disclosed in a statement titled, ‘NCC-CSIRT Identifies Two Cyber Vulnerabilities,’ signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde.

The statement read in part, “The CSIRT, in its first-ever security advisories less than three months after its creation, has solely identified the two cyber-attacks targeting the consumers and proffer solutions that can help telecom consumers from falling victims to the two cyber vulnerabilities.

“The first is described as Juice Jacking, which can gain access into consumers’ devices when charging mobile phones at public charging stations and it applies to all mobile phones. The other is a Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance Vulnerability, which targets only Android Operating System.

“According to CSIRT security Advisory 0001 released on January 26, 2022, with Juice Jacking, attackers have found a new way to gain unauthorised entry into unsuspecting mobile phone users devices when they charge their mobile phones at public charging stations.

“Many public spaces, restaurants, malls and even in the public trains do offer complementary services to their customers in a bid to enhance customer services, one of which is providing charging ports or sockets.

“However, an attacker can leverage this courtesy to load a payload in the charging station or on the cables they would leave plugged in at the stations.

“Once unsuspecting persons plug their phones at the charging station or the cable left by the attacker, the payload is automatically downloaded on the victims’ phone. This payload then gives the attacker remote access to the mobile phone, allowing them to monitor data transmitted as text, or audio using the microphone. The attacker can even watch the victim in real time if the victims’ camera is not covered. The attacker is also given full access to the gallery and also to the phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) location.

“When an attacker gains access to a user’s Mobile phone, he gets remote access to the User’s phone which leads to breach in Confidentiality, Violation of Data Integrity and bypass of Authentication Mechanisms. Symptoms of attack may include sudden spike in battery consumption, device operating slower than usual, apps taking a long time to load, and when they load they crash frequently and cause abnormal data usage.”

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