Karsten Nohl will be giving a presentation in Berlin today on what he can do to a phone that uses GSM technology. Seems that Mr. Nohl has figured out a way to control cell phones that use the technology, which could allow hackers to make calls and send texts. Wondering whether your phone is GSM or not? If you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile subscriber, then you’re a winner. Verizon, Sprint, and most other minor carriers use CDMA technology, which is not affected. If you’re reading this and you’re not in the U.S., then your phone is almost certainly uses GSM, which means that 80% of phones, worldwide, are vulnerable to the problem.
If carriers don’t update their software, Nohl says the scamming code could be in the wrong hands, up and running, within a few weeks. It would work like this: hackers get into your phone and make a few calls or texts to phony sites that add charges to your phone bill. By the time you or your phone company sees the rogue charges, the hackers have emptied the bank account, closed up shop, and started again under a new name. Diabolical.