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Security Communications IT

Researchers Convert Phones Into Secret Listening Devices 59

CowboyRobot writes "Columbia University grad student Ang Cui demonstrated how networked printers and phones can be abused by attackers. 'The attack I demonstrated is caused by the multiple vulnerabilities within the syscall interface of the CNU [Cisco Native Unix] kernel,' Cui tells Dark Reading. 'It is caused by the lack of input validation at the syscall interface, which allows arbitrary modification of kernel memory from userland, as well as arbitrary code execution within the kernel. This, in turn, allows the attacker to become root, gain control over the DSP [Digital Signal Processor], buttons, and LEDs on the phone. The attack I demonstrated patches the existing kernel and DSP in order to carry out stealthy mic exfiltration.'"
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Researchers Convert Phones Into Secret Listening Devices

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  • Re:Preach it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psmears ( 629712 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @06:36AM (#42312533)

    I'm guessing you never disassembled one to see how it actually worked. I did. Go ahead and find an exemplar and give it a go.

    I have done so, and what you say makes no sense. The old carbon microphones require a current flowing through them in order to produce any signal, and that current draw is what signals to the CO that the receiver is off-hook. Therefore the microphone has to be disconnected from the line when the phone is on-hook (or else the CO would see the phone as permanently off-hook) and that is indeed the case in actual phones.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.