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The Research is in, Your Phone can be Attacked When it's "Off."

May 23, 2022 2 min read

The Research is in, Your Phone can be Attacked When it's "Off."

One of our biggest reasons we promote the use of Faraday bags and sleeves for your mobile devices, is that they aren't actually "off."

It has been shown that in more modern devices, that laptops are still active when you put them to sleep, and phones can still be tracked while they're off. It is this last feature that led this recent discovery.

It is said to have only been done in a research lab, but if they've done it so has someone on the other side.

This attack uses the "Low-Power Mode" functions such as the Bluetooth chip, RFID/NFC capabilities, and UWB chip to access the phone when it's off. This design allow these chips access to your phone as a "safety" feature, but clearly can be used for malicious reasons as well.

These were deemed as a safety feature so that you might be able to use "find my iPhone" or your phone as a car key even if your phone was off or dead. However, the constant on functionality of these chips introduce a larger number of threats.

For one, we constantly mention how trackable you are and how just turning your phone off is not a solution, especially since you can no longer take your battery out.

The researchers say that at the moment that the attackers would still have to exploit the Bluetooth capabilities and find a way to access the rest of the device.

It is our opinion, that if someone has already gotten this far, they could probably go that extra step and access your devices information.

If at this point your still thinking, why does this matter?

To that I ask, "Do you travel? Do you take the subway? Do you go to crowded coffee shops?" etc.

In other words, the reality of this attack mean that if you frequent well-trafficked areas, your device could be susceptible to one of these attacks in the future.

We already advocate using a Faraday Sleeve when traveling due to tracking reasons, as this will block any ingoing our outgoing signals regardless if your device is on. 

slnt faraday leather phone sleeve

Our latest Pacsafe® x SLNT® Anti-Theft Collection adds Faraday functionality to a well designed form to fit in in any situation from the airport to the coffee shop and finally to the office.  

pacsafe x slnt recycled water bottle exterior