Varun Kohli, VP of Marketing at Skycure, Takes Less than a Minute to Hack into The Mobile Device of Tom Costello of The Today Show
As few as five years ago, more people would probably rather have a mobile device stolen from them than their actual physical wallets or handbags. Today, that is probably no longer true. Our companion devices have become extensions of our very selves. At Skycure, we collect and analyze data lakes of up-to-the-second mobile threat intelligence from around the world about tens of thousands of mobile endpoints to paint the most relevant living picture of real-time mobile threats. Our unique insights reveal often unsettling patterns about how hackers are targeting their attacks against people’s favorite devices.
We recently conducted a global study that correlated findings from our exclusive mobile anomaly and threat detection technology to rank the world’s top travel and vacation destinations by order of most dangerous to least in terms of malicious public WiFi networks. The results from our study caught the attention of NBC’s The Today Show, and I was invited to go on-air and talk about the digital elephant in the room: travelers to popular destinations like New York’s Time Square, St. Peter’s Basilica and Hollywood Walk of Fame can easily be fooled into exposing their passwords and other sensitive data on their devices to hackers. How easily? Watch me shock the hosts of The Today Show.
On TV, actions speak louder than words. I dared Tom to let me hack into his device as a live on-air demonstration. He consented, perhaps not realizing that it would take me less than one minute to extract his device password. At first, Tom didn’t didn’t recognize his password. Most people know their password by muscle memory and don’t recognize it immediately when it’s shown to them on a screen, in clear text by someone else. He was also shocked to watch me remotely open his LinkedIn app, hijack his LinkedIn session and look at all of his messages and contacts. I asked Tom to conduct a query on a search engine—and then showed him how I could redirect his query to any other site. He would have had no idea if I’d sent him to a clone site and collected, for example, his banking account info and password.
My demonstration was enough to convince Tom and the entire crew on the set of The Today Show to instantly download the publicly available Skycure app—downloads occurred before the interview ended! Tom was glad that I opened his eyes to the new reality of the mobile risk landscape: without Skycure actively monitoring all of the layers of your mobile device, hackers possess the tools and cunning to steal information in a matter of seconds from the devices of traveling tourists and professionals.