Here we go again with reports of a new method for threat actors and hackers to steal information from your cell phone. This new method is called Ghost Touching, and it’s just as detrimental as a phishing or malware attack. In this blog, we’ll discuss who is most vulnerable and how to avoid being a Ghost Touch hack victim.
What is Ghost Touching?
Some smart phones, mostly Android lines, have a vulnerability called Ghost Tapping. This is when certain elements can cause phones to act erratically. Dust or water under the screen's protective layer can cause random Ghost Touching. Small electromagnetic signals can also simulate swiping and tapping motions on your smart phone. The phone will open and close different apps, browsers, etc. with no human intervention. These issues are both hardware and software related.
What is Ghost Touch Hacking?
This new hacking technique takes advantage of the flaw in some smartphones by sending malicious electromagnetic signals to an unsuspecting person’s phone. Once in, the threat actor can access passwords, email, banking apps, etc. In some cases, they can also install malicious software, malware, or worms. Currently, this is known to be an issue for only a select few phone types, such as the iPhone SE (2020), Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Redmi 8, and Nokia 7.2 according to NordVPN.
How does Ghost Touch Hacking Work?
The most common method is that the threat actor places an electronic device under a table in some public place such as a coffee shop, library, or a hotel conference room. Once the victim lays their phone down on the table over the electronic device, the attacker can start accessing the phone.
The range on these attack boxes' electromagnetic signal is only about 1.5 to 4 inches at best. Depending on the quality of the attack box components. Most tables are only 1 inch thick or less. Once connected, the threat actor can remote into your phone from their phone or laptop, which can be as much as 50 feet away or more.
At this point, the threat actor simply takes control of your phone, browsing around to see what, if anything, they can get. Since most people place their phone face-down on the table in public places, they never see the activity on their phone.
How do I prevent Ghost Touch Hacking?
Probably the simplest method is to place your phone face up so you can see when it’s acting erratically. Once you notice some unusual activity, pick your phone up from the table. Remember, the range is only a few inches at best. Lifting your phone off the table breaks the connection with the device and the threat actor.
Another option is to make sure your smartphone has some level of security, such as a PIN code, swipe pattern or biometrics.
As with any subject, when it comes to personal and internet safety, always keep your phone's software current by installing all the latest patches and upgrades.
Disclaimer: The information posted on blogs and vlogs by City National Bank is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional or legal advice. City National Bank will not be held liable for any loss or damage of any kind in connection with this blog.