80 Percent of All Phones Vulnerable to Hijack Scams, Security Expert Says

Vulnerability in a widely used wireless technology could allow hackers to gain remote control of phones And instruct them to send text messages or make calls, according to an expert on mobile phone security.

They could use the vulnerability in the GSM network technology, which is used by billions of people in about 80 percent of the global mobile market, to make calls or send texts to expensive, premium phone and messaging services in scams, said Karsten Nohl, head of Germany’s Security Research Labs.

Similar attacks against a small number of smartphones have been done before, but the new attack could expose any cellphone using GSM technology.

“We can do it to hundreds of thousands of phones in a short timeframe,” Nohl told Reuters in advance of a presentation at a hacking convention in Berlin on Tuesday.

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