August 28, 2008


Cellphones may be an underestimated target of spies and hackers, something of which you and your family may want to be aware:
1. First, there's an excellent article at GeeksAreSexy, which gives details on how cellphones are being used to monitor not only all your conversations (they listen in) but also ...
2. your location and your usual routines. Great for burglars and other evildoers, right? (GeeksAreSexy also has a great article on how to use your cellphone to set up a house-monitoring system for your home or office).
3. Cornell gives information on how hackers can take your information by intercepting its signal, and essentially bill your account for whatever use they choose. This is called "cloning," and it's against federal law. Call your phone company if you think you've been a victim of cloning.
4. Prime targets are cellphones with access to corporate networks, where all sorts of malware can be installed, according to USA Today.
5. Other juicy targets are folk who use their phones to shop online, or to do online banking. (Think of that nice commercial, where the financial institution is promoting online banking services by showing customers hiking, rockclimbing, etc., and stopping for a minute to do a little banking.) All that private information is much easier to access on a cellphone than through a computer these days, due to the security software that's readily available for computers but not, as yet, for cellphones.
Right now, you're at risk.

This new crime frontier is spawning all sorts of security entrepreneurs who are focusing specifically upon the cellphone market. So far, there have not been any major disasters involving cellphone or PDA breaches, but expect to hear about one soon. You know the criminals are on the job.
The NIST is working on it.
If you have some concerns or suggestions, then you have an opportunity right now to provide input into the National Institute of Standards and Technology on this topic. Just send an email to with "comments sp 800-124" in the subject line, or write NISTmedia contact Michael Baum at

(According to CNET, they were looking for public commentary earlier this month, but you should still be able to get something in, right?)
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