Beware, That Music At Starbucks Can Be Malware
London: Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have uncovered new hard-to-detect methods involving music, lighting or vibration that criminals may use to trigger mobile device malware.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) presented the research at the 8th Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS) in Hangzhou, China.
"When you go to an arena or Starbucks, you don't expect the music to have a hidden message, so this is a big paradigm shift because the public sees only emails and the internet as vulnerable to malware attacks," said Ragib Hasan, assistant professor of computer and information sciences and director of the UAB SECuRE and Trustworthy (SECRET) computing lab.
"We devote a lot of our efforts towards securing traditional communication channels. But when bad guys use such hidden and unexpected methods to communicate, it is difficult if not impossible to detect that," Hasan said.
A team of UAB researchers was able to trigger malware hidden in mobile devices from 55 feet away in a crowded hallway using music.
They were also successful, at various distances, using music videos; lighting from a television, computer monitor and overhead bulbs; vibrations from a subwoofer; and magnetic fields.