Actually, we like to think that smartphones are super safe, especially high-end ones or those of the big brands. However, the reality is very different, a research has just revealed that many popular devices are very easy to hack.
A study by researchers from Purdue University and the University of Iowa (via Tech Crunch) revealed that there is a vulnerability related to baseband software on many of the Android smartphones that were popular in the market a few years ago. The baseband is the component of the phone that allows it to connect to the mobile network to connect to the Internet or make calls, so once it is hacked, it can affect the user in many ways:
"Attackers can use that access to trick vulnerable phones into giving up their unique identifiers, such as their IMEI and IMSI numbers, degrade the connection of a target to intercept calls, divert calls to another phone or block all phone calls and Internet access completely, "said Tech Crunch.
According to the research, at least these 10 smartphones have this vulnerability, although there could be more smartphones on this list:
• Pixel 2.
• Samsung Galaxy S8.
• Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
• Samsung Galaxy s3.
• Nexus 5.
• Nexus 6.
• Nexus 6P.
• Huawei P8 Lite.
• LG G3.
• HTC Desire 10.
And how does this vulnerability work? Due to its importance in connectivity, the baseband is a generally independent and inaccessible component in a smartphone. However, the study found that many Android phones allow Bluetooth and USB accessories, such as headphones or other accersories, to access the baseband unintentionally. Thus, by exploiting a vulnerable accessory, a hacker can execute commands on an Android phone remotely.
If you are interested, you can read more about the study Here.