Secret Chips in Cell Phone Spare Parts

There’s a growing trend – small cell phone repair shops are springing up all over. They usually provide repairs for cracked screens and other fixes, often at a lower cost and with a quicker turn-around than the manufacturers.

Some unsavory characters have invaded this market. Some replacement parts have been compromised with secret hardware. The devices are hijacked, logging keyboard input and patterns, installing malicious apps, taking pictures and emailing them to the attacker.

Turns out the malicious replacement parts are not very expensive and can be mass-produced. They’re hard to identify as compromised, so the local repair person may not even know that the parts have been tampered with. According to an online article by Dan Goodin, ARS Technic, BIZ & T, this is referred to as a ‘chip-in-the-middle’ attack.

There are more and more people using phone apps for home security, garage door access, monitoring home cameras, and many other conveniences. If that describes how you use your phone, you might consider forking out the extra money and having repairs done by the manufacturer; not necessarily a guarantee, but the odds are better. – CMW