Yesterday I was wondering if it was really a good thing that we seem to be engaging less with technology while at the same time becoming ever more dependent on it.
That post was inspired by Stuxnet, the ultra-advanced software weapon seemingly aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities. But a more everyday example of the risks technology can pose to overly oblivious users has appeared on the BBC’s website, with Rory Cellan-Jones discovering how easy it is to compromise an iPhone 4 and steal personal information.
[Security experts] used a netbook computer to set up a wireless access point. They called it “BTOpenzone”, a network my phone and many others look out for and join. I watched as they showed me a range of devices in their office in London’s Soho looking at the network – including my phone.
This wasn’t the only exploit used – the demonstration also included the iPhone 4 PIN hack, SMS number spoofing, and the interception of cookies sent via Facebook. As you’d expect, Cellan-Jones is at pains to mollify Apple and Facebook, the two companies whose products are shown to be compromised in the article. But none of this stuff is hyper-technical – for a hacker to pull this stuff off is relatively trivial.
The demonstration and the article as a whole is a great example of how blind, unquestioning trust in the technology we use can expose us to massive risks, not just from uber-hackers but from anyone with malicious intent and basic networking knowledge. It reinforces the point that we could do well to understand the technology that surrounds us a bit more than we currently do.