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Eavesdropping on Smartphone Secrets

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Security researchers at Cryptography Research say the smart card attack involving differential power analysis could be used to target smartphones. Cryptography Research adapted the technique of analyzing the power consumption patterns of smart cards and found that the approach can reveal the cryptographic keys used to access a carrier's network or to secure data stored on the device.

Cryptography Research's Benjamin Jun says attacks on mobile devices should be a concern, considering key corporate data are now being accessed using such stripped-down environments. "Which means that someone who's trying to attack the device generally has an easier time, because it's not as complicated as a desktop system," Jun says.

Although attackers have experience targeting embedded systems, manufacturers should be able to come up with countermeasures for smartphones, Jun says. "The main question is whether protections can be done entirely in software or not."

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