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Media Advisory 10-009

Can Clever Hackers Target Smart Phones?

Two computer scientists will discuss how smart phones can be hacked, hijacked and exploited without their owners' knowledge

March 25, 2010

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.


An online media briefing hosted by the National Science Foundation on how smart phones can be hijacked without their owners' knowledge


Vinod Ganapathy, assistant professor of computer science, and Liviu Iftode, professor of computer science, Rutgers University


Monday, March 29 at 1 p.m. EDT

Where:Reporters may participate either over the phone or online

Smart phones are becoming a common part of everyday life, and are transforming the way we do business and communicate. Millions of Americans are using these powerful devices whose impressive capabilities and features rival that of desktop computers from just a few years ago. Yet few users realize that these same devices can be hacked and turned against their owners.

Last month at the International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (HotMobile 2010), two researchers from Rutgers University--Vinod Ganapathy and Liviu Iftode--presented the results of their attempts to hack and hijack smart phones. Ganapathy and Iftode were able to turn smart phones into miniature surveillance devices, surreptitiously recording the daily lives of their users as well as tracking their precise whereabouts.

During an online media briefing hosted by the National Science Foundation, Ganapathy and Iftode will talk about these and other malicious attacks they were able to conduct as part of their study. The researchers will also discuss why these devices can be more vulnerable than traditional computers, and how smart phones could be improved to better protect their users.

Members of the media who wish to participate in the webcast should contact Dana Cruikshank at (703) 292-7738 or for telephone and log-in information.


Media Contacts
Dana W. Cruikshank, NSF, (703) 292-7738, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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