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Types of Wireless and Mobile Device Attacks

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Wireless and mobile devices have become ubiquitous in today’s society, and with this increased usage comes the potential for security threats. Wireless and mobile device attacks are a growing concern for individuals, businesses, and governments. 

Below are some of the most common types of Wireless and Mobile Device Attacks:

SMiShing: Smishing become common now as smartphones are widely used. SMiShing uses Short Message Service (SMS) to send fraud text messages or links. The criminals cheat the user by calling. Victims may provide sensitive information such as credit card information, account information, etc. Accessing a website might result in the user unknowingly downloading malware that infects the device.

War driving : War driving is a way used by attackers to find access points wherever they can be. With the availability of free Wi-Fi connection, they can drive around and obtain a very huge amount of information over a very short period of time.

WEP attack: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol that attempted to provide a wireless local area network with the same level of security as a wired LAN. Since physical security steps help to protect a wired LAN, WEP attempts to provide similar protection for data transmitted over WLAN with encryption. WEP uses a key for encryption. There is no provision for key management with Wired Equivalent Privacy, so the number of people sharing the key will continually grow. Since everyone is using the same key, the criminal has access to a large amount of traffic for analytic attacks.

WPA attack: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and then WPA2 came out as improved protocols to replace WEP. WPA2 does not have the same encryption problems because an attacker cannot recover the key by noticing traffic. WPA2 is susceptible to attack because cyber criminals can analyze the packets going between the access point and an authorized user.

Bluejacking: Bluejacking is used for sending unauthorized messages to another Bluetooth device. Bluetooth is a high-speed but very short-range wireless technology for exchanging data between desktop and mobile computers and other devices.

Replay attacks: In a Replay attack an attacker spies on information being sent between a sender and a receiver. Once the attacker has spied on the information, he or she can intercept it and retransmit it again thus leading to some delay in data transmission. It is also known as playback attack.

Bluesnarfing : It occurs when the attacker copies the victim’s information from his device. An attacker can access information such as the user’s calendar, contact list, e-mail and text messages without leaving any evidence of the attack.

RF Jamming: Wireless signals are susceptible to electromagnetic interference and radio-frequency interference. Radio frequency (RF) jamming distorts the transmission of a satellite station so that the signal does not reach the receiving station.

There are several types of attacks that target these devices, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:

Wi-Fi Spoofing: Wi-Fi spoofing involves setting up a fake wireless access point to trick users into connecting to it instead of the legitimate network. This attack can be used to steal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. One advantage of this attack is that it is relatively easy to carry out, and the attacker does not need sophisticated tools or skills. However, it can be easily detected if users are aware of the legitimate network’s name and other details.

Packet Sniffing: Packet sniffing involves intercepting and analyzing the data packets that are transmitted over a wireless network. This attack can be used to capture sensitive information such as email messages, instant messages, and web traffic. One advantage of this attack is that it can be carried out without the user’s knowledge. However, the attacker needs to be in close proximity to the victim and must have the technical skills and tools to intercept and analyze the data.

Bluejacking: Bluejacking involves sending unsolicited messages to Bluetooth-enabled devices. This attack can be used to send spam, phishing messages, or malware to the victim’s device. One advantage of this attack is that it does not require a network connection, and the attacker can be located anywhere within range of the victim’s Bluetooth signal. However, it requires the attacker to have the victim’s Bluetooth device’s address and is limited to devices that have Bluetooth capabilities.

SMS Spoofing: SMS spoofing involves sending text messages that appear to come from a trusted source, such as a bank or a government agency. This attack can be used to trick users into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. One advantage of this attack is that it can be carried out without the user’s knowledge. However, it requires the attacker to have the victim’s phone number, and it can be easily detected if users are aware of the legitimate source of the message.

Malware: Malware is software designed to infect a device and steal or damage data. Malware can be distributed through email attachments, software downloads, or malicious websites. One advantage of this attack is that it can be carried out remotely, without the attacker needing to be physically close to the victim. However, it requires the attacker to have a way to deliver the malware to the victim’s device, such as through a phishing email or a fake website.

Conclusion: Wireless and mobile device attacks can have severe consequences, including the theft of sensitive data, identity theft, financial loss, and reputational damage. To protect against these attacks, users should always use strong passwords, keep their devices and software up-to-date, avoid connecting to unsecured networks, and use reputable app stores. Businesses should also implement security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and employee training to protect against wireless and mobile device attacks.

Last Updated : 21 Mar, 2023
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