Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stealth Attack Drains Cell Phone Batteries

Date:
August 30, 2006
Source:
University Of California - Davis
Summary:
Cell phones that can send or receive multimedia files could be targeted by an attack that stealthily drains their batteries, leaving cellular communications networks useless, according to computer security researchers at UC Davis.

Cell phones that can send or receive multimedia files could be targeted by an attack that stealthily drains their batteries, leaving cellular communications networks useless, according to computer security researchers at UC Davis.

"Battery power is the bottleneck for a cell phone," said Hao Chen, assistant professor of computer science at UC Davis. "It can't do anything with a dead battery." Cell phones are designed to conserve battery life by spending most of their time in standby mode.

Chen, and graduate students Denys Ma and Radmilo Racic, found that the MMS protocol, which allows cell phones to send and receive pictures, video and audio files, can be used to send packets of junk data to a cell phone. Every time the phone receives one of these packets, it "wakes up" from standby mode, but quickly discards the junk packet without ringing or alerting the user. Deprived of sleep by repeated pulses of junk data, the phone's batteries run down up to 20 times faster than in regular use.

The attacker needs to know the number and Internet address of the victim's cell phone, but those are easy to obtain, Chen said. The computer used to launch the attack could be anywhere on the Internet.

Chen and his students have tested the concept in the laboratory. They have also found other vulnerabilities in the MMS protocol -- one, for example, would allow users to circumvent billing for multimedia services and send files for free.

As cell phone providers offer more services, such as e-mail, Web surfing and file sharing, they become vulnerable to the same attacks as computers, as well as to new types of attack that exploit their specific vulnerabilities.

"It's important to evaluate security now, while cell phones are being connected to the broadband Internet," Chen said.

The work was presented at the 15th USENIX security symposium, July 31-Aug. 4 in Vancouver, Canada, and will be presented at IEEE Securecomm '06 in Baltimore, Md., Aug. 28-Sept. 1. The researchers notified service providers about the potential vulnerability before publishing their findings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Davis. "Stealth Attack Drains Cell Phone Batteries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060829090243.htm>.
University Of California - Davis. (2006, August 30). Stealth Attack Drains Cell Phone Batteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060829090243.htm
University Of California - Davis. "Stealth Attack Drains Cell Phone Batteries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060829090243.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sprint's Custom Prepaid Plans Draw Net Neutrality Fire

Sprint's Custom Prepaid Plans Draw Net Neutrality Fire

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Sprint's Virgin Mobile Custom plan offers optional social network access that doesn't count against data caps — but critics are crying foul. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins