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BLOG: Can you hear me now? Yeah, hacked Verizon device can nab your texts and photos too

Darlene Storm | July 16, 2013
Security researchers hacked a Verizon femtocell and turned it into a spying device if an unlucky user is within 40 feet of the network extender.

Oh, and if you're not on Verizon Wireless, don't feel left out. The researchers told Reuters that "equipment of some 30 other carriers" are also vulnerable to this type of hack. Additionally, Verizon is vulnerable to other hacks.

It might be a good time to subscribe to the theory of not sending anything over your phone that you wouldn't want your mother to hear about in court. "I make sure that I don't send anything over the phone that I wouldn't be comfortable with someone else seeing," Ritter said.

According to DePerry and Ritter, during their Def Con talk, "We will demonstrate how we've used a femtocell for traffic interception of voice/SMS/data, active network attacks and explain how we were able to clone a mobile device without physical access."

Def Con 21 and Feds
Speaking of Def Con, when Dark Tangent said, "Feds, we need some time apart," the lyrics "Hit the road, feds, and don't ya come back no more, no more," started ringing through my head. Like many, I do not approve of NSA domestic spying as if we are all potential terrorists or criminals.

But Dark Tangent, aka Jeff Moss who is the founder of Def Con and of Black Hat security conferences, and currently on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, didn't say that. Instead, for the first time in Def Con's 21 year history, he only suggested a "time-out." On the Def Con website, he wrote, "When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about this relationship. Therefore, I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a 'time-out' and not attend DEF CON this year."

Moss told Reuters that "it was 'a tough call,' but he believed the Def Con community needs time to make sense of recent revelations about U.S. surveillance programs." He added, "The community is digesting things that the Feds have had a decade to understand and come to terms with. A little bit of time and distance can be a healthy thing, especially when emotions are running high."

It immediately hit the fan, with Secure Ideas then announcing it wouldn't be presenting on attacking SharePoint at Def Con. As the controversy over "banning" the feds stirred, Def Con organizers clarified that Dark Tangent never used the word "ban."

There is a lot of tension in the community right now and he was asking politely for feds to consider not attending this year.

If you are on your own dime pursuing your own personal interests in hacking and not assigned to be there working your federal Intel job, then don't consider yourself a Fed! We want motivated people to attend! 


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