Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Spectrum Analyzer Catches Cell Phone Cheats In Taiwan

Anti-cheating use aside, security experts say spectrum analysis tools could be a new data breach threat vector.

Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010

High-tech cheats, beware: German communications equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz said that Taiwanese government officials recently purchased three of its FSH4 spectrum analyzers to watch for the presence of cell phones. The goal was to monitor an exam hall filled with prospective government workers. Officials prohibit cell phones during exams, because answers could be relayed to test takers by voice or text.

The National Communications Commission, Taiwan's broadcasting regulator, also requested that the spectrum analyzers -- normally used to test cell phone signal strength -- have specific software modifications. "They didn't tell us what they were going to do. They just told us what to design, and later we found out what it was for," Rohde & Schwarz senior company engineer Lai Cheng-heng told PC World.

The modified devices were used in conjunction with earpieces, so that roving exam monitors would be quietly alerted when they were in the presence of an active cell phone. Officials said they identified at least three individuals using smartphones during the exam, though couldn't say whether they'd be formally accused of cheating.

While spectrum analyzers can watch for the presence of unapproved devices, that's not all they can do. According to a blog post by Gartner Group analyst John Pescatore, on the networking front, WLAN intrusion prevention systems (WIPS) already used spectrum analysis "to detect rogue access points in the early years of Wi-Fi use, and more recently . . . to detect misconfigured access points that might provide openings for attacks."

But he said spectrum analyzers could be used to discover much more than just misconfigured Wi-Fi networks operating in the 2.5 and 5 Ghz bands. The devices could also probe for known smartphone and mobile device vulnerabilities, especially as more and more devices -- not just smartphones but also iPads and laptops -- get equipped with high-speed 3G connections. Because of that, "cellular frequencies represent a growing wireless path for outbound data leakage and inbound attacks," he said. Not just for exam questions.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
The Problem with Artificial Intelligence in Security
Dr. Leila Powell, Lead Security Data Scientist, Panaseer,  5/26/2020
10 iOS Security Tips to Lock Down Your iPhone
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  5/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13660
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
CMS Made Simple through 2.2.14 allows XSS via a crafted File Picker profile name.
CVE-2020-11079
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
node-dns-sync (npm module dns-sync) through 0.2.0 allows execution of arbitrary commands . This issue may lead to remote code execution if a client of the library calls the vulnerable method with untrusted input. This has been fixed in 0.2.1.
CVE-2020-13245
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
Certain NETGEAR devices are affected by Missing SSL Certificate Validation. This affects R7000 1.0.9.6_1.2.19 through 1.0.11.100_10.2.10, and possibly R6120, R7800, R6220, R8000, R6350, R9000, R6400, RAX120, R6400v2, RBR20, R6800, XR300, R6850, XR500, and R7000P.
CVE-2020-4248
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
IBM Security Identity Governance and Intelligence 5.2.6 could allow a remote attacker to obtain sensitive information when a detailed technical error message is returned in the browser. This information could be used in further attacks against the system. IBM X-Force ID: 175484.
CVE-2020-8329
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
A denial of service vulnerability was reported in the firmware prior to version 1.01 used in Lenovo Printer LJ4010DN that could be triggered by a remote user sending a crafted packet to the device, causing an error to be displayed and preventing printer from functioning until the printer is rebooted...