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 April 17, 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 April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The social media data space is likely to see more mergers and acquisitions following Twitter Inc.'s acquisition of tweet analyzer Gnip Inc. on Tuesday and Apples Inc.'s purchase of Topsy Labs Inc. back in December. One firm in particular, the U.K.'s DataSift Inc., could be on the list of potential buyers. Among other social media startups that could be ripe for picking is Banjo, whose mobile app provides aggregated content by topic and location. Banjo could also be a good fit for Twitter. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox to Liquidate After Rebuilding Rejected

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox to Liquidate After Rebuilding Rejected

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has agreed to liquidate after a Japanese court rejected its plans to rebuild, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in February after announcing about 850,000 bitcoins, worth around $454 million at today's rates, may have been stolen by hackers. It has since recovered 200,000 of the missing bitcoins. The court put Mt. Gox's assets under a provisional administrator's control until bankruptcy proceedings begin. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
BlackBerry: The Crash That Launched 1,000 Startups

BlackBerry: The Crash That Launched 1,000 Startups

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Tech startups in BlackBerry's hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, are tapping talent from the struggling smartphone company and filling the void left in the region by its meltdown. Reuters correspondent Euan Rocha visits the region that could become Canada's Silicon Valley. Video provided by Reuters
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