Implanted Chip can Hack Mobile Devices

Monday, May 4, 2015 @ 09:05 AM gHale

It is possible to implant a NFC chip that a body scanner will not detect at airports or other high-security locations that could compromise devices inside a guarded perimeter.

Sound like science fiction? Seth Wahle, an engineer at APA Wireless, implanted a chip into his hand. Its Near Field Communications antenna can ping Android phones of individuals who find themselves near him, and asks them to open a link.

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The link leads to a malicious file and, if the target installs and runs it, the phone will connect to a remote computer operated by Wahle, who can then carry out further exploits on that mobile device.

While unlikely users would follow a link that just pops up on their screens, but a better thought-out attack using a bit of social engineering could easily seal the deal.

The biggest advantage of implanted chips is the attacker can surreptitiously smuggle them into high-security locations where there is a ban on all wearable technology and other devices.

Wahle, who used to be a U.S. navy petty officer, said none of the military scanners he had to pass through every day detected the chip.

He bought the chip, usually used on cattle, from Chinese company Freevision, he said in an interview with Forbes magazine. He programmed it and had an “unlicensed amateur” implant it.

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