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 October 21, 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Apple is making a strategic bet with the launch of Apple Pay, the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Pay Goes Live

Apple Pay Goes Live

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Apple launches an ambitious new mobile service, Apple Pay, which aims to change the way consumers pay for goods and services, doing away with cash and traditional credit cards. Jeanne Yurman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Google is changing its search-engine results to protect content producers from piracy — for a price. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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