Having everything from blazing-fast chipsets to multi-camera systems, modern-day smartphones are indeed crammed with more features than an average user possibly needs. Complementing those features are the advanced operating systems that run on these power-packed mobile devices. However, it seems they are not really that big when it comes to security.
On the first day of Pwn2Tokyo, an annual hacking contest, hackers were able to successfully crack numerous flagship smartphones, including Apple iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9, and Xiaomi Mi 6.
According to Zero Day Initiative, who are the organizers of the competition, a hacker duo going by the name ‘Fluoroacetate’ was able to exploit Xiaomi Mi 6 using the smartphone’s NFC chip. The team used the feature to forcibly-open their specially-designed webpage on the device’s web browser. After this, they used an out-of-bounds affecting Web Assembly to execute code. The feat earned them a bounty of $30,000, as per a report by Fossbytes.
The same team (‘Fluroacetate’) was also able to crack Samsung Galaxy S9, which involved exploiting a heap overflow in the smartphone’s baseband. They earned $50,000 for this hack. The duo was even able to get into Apple iPhone X. For the same, they used a Just-In-Time (JIT) bug and an out-of-bounds write flaw over Wi-Fi. For this feat, the team earned $60,000.
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Since this was only the first day of the contest, it’s quite possible that more smartphones will be hacked in the coming days. At the same event last year, hackers were able to crack devices like Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, and Apple iPhone 7.