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Yes, you can hack cell phones like on Mr. Robot—just not the way they did

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Yes, you can hack cell phones like on Mr. Robot—just not the way they did

NBCUniversal

Warning: This piece contains minor spoilers for the most recent episode of Mr. Robot (S2E9)

Time and time again, Mr. Robot has proven to be a show that prides itself on extreme attention to detail. Whether it involves hiring ex-FBI employees as consultants or tracking down the duo behind the Full House theme, the series wants to ground its high-stakes story in a healthy dose of realism. 

“The notion of there being an E-Corp, a conglomerate in charge of 70 percent of the world’s debt, is a big pill to swallow,” Kor Adana, staff writer and the show’s lead tech producer, told Ars recently. “The way I see it, anything we can do to ground the show in reality with all the other tools at our disposal, the better it is to sell this version of reality.”

In the series’ latest episode, hero-hacker Elliot Alderson launches an attack script called crackSIM from a real-world device—Pwnie Express’ PwnPhone—to allow him to eavesdrop on a cell phone call. As superhuman as the attack seems, it’s yet another realistic portrayal from Adana and his team. Yes, this hack is technically possible. It’s also possible for an attacker to eavesdrop on a cell phone call. But this being a ~50 minute cable series, creative license does ultimately rear its head. And unfortunately, the hack Elliot used wouldn’t work to do the eavesdropping as we understand infosec today. Instead, the show (rightfully) took a few artistic liberties when demonstrating how such an attack would happen.

PwnieExpress / NBCUniversal

A Pwnie party

Ars got a bit of a preview of the attack from the folks at Pwnie Express. As they discussed with us on this week’s Decrypted podcast (embedded below), the company was contacted by the producers of Mr. Robot to take part in the plot. Pwnie was able to take a small role in discussing what is and isn’t capable with the series staff during production, and ultimately the team was thrilled with the results. (After all, as the clip above shows, Elliot calls the phone the ultimate hacking device. Later in the episode, this attack earns him the title of “master” from a group of international hacker mercenaries called the Dark Army.)

We’ve gone hands on with the Pwn Phone in its previous incarnation and once even used a similar device on an NPR reporter (don’t worry, he agreed to it). But since the Pwn Phone plays such a prominent role in this hack on this show, we wanted to talk with Pwnie’s vice president of marketing Dmitri Vlachos and director of product development (and former Air Force cyber operator) Yolanda Smith about this “crackSIM” attack. Even if it’s been fictionalized, could someone pull off what Elliot was doing in the real world?

The original Pwn Phone, with its external Wi-Fi adaptor case jacked into its USB port, as we saw it in 2014.
Enlarge / The original Pwn Phone, with its external Wi-Fi adaptor case jacked into its USB port, as we saw it in 2014.

CrackSIM is not included by default on the Pwn Phone, and that’s because it is a fake program scripted by Elliot within the show’s universe. But Smith said there’s research that suggests the capability of crackSIM, which broke the encryption on the SIM card, is plausible. Research presented by Karsten Nohl of Security Research Labs at last year’s Black Hat demonstrated that if an attacker had physical access to a SIM card, a hard disk full of pre-computed potential keys, and full knowledge of what the response from a phone for an Over The Air (OTA) update message would be, it was possible to grab a single 56-bit DES encryption key from the SIM. Even SIMs that use Triple DES encryption sometimes downgrade their key to just normal DES when the service they’re connected to requests it. This is the sort of attack that is used in “Stingray” boxes, devices used by law enforcement to track cell phones and intercept their calls. [Stingrays lower cellular connections to 2G, weakening encryption on calls, to make it easier to monitor calls.]

However, Elliot’s hack took only seconds. And that is where, as Smith put it, the show took a bit of “dramatic license.” Elliot also appears to clone the SIM card to use it to intercept calls and listen in on his targets rather than intercepting the call Stingray style—a hack that would just give the attacker the ability to imitate the victim and take control of the hacked phone’s number rather than intercepting calls. That’s precisely what happened earlier this year when someone took over Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson’s phone number and got access to his Twitter account and other accounts through password resets authenticated from the hijacked number.

When asked how she would pull off the hack herself, Smith said that the most likely route would be to exploit a known weakness in the SS7 phone network routing protocol. An attacker could, using the victim’s phone number, essentially route all the calls to that number through a proxy, allowing “man-in-the-middle” monitoring of calls and SMS messages. (Black Hat, DEFCON, et al: If you’re listening, we’re ready for next year’s Mr. Robot panel.)

Another real world alternative would require proximity to the victim—using a femtocell to intercept the calls. A hacked femtocell would allow direct monitoring of the call without having to crack the SIM, because the femtocell decrypts signals it receives to route them over the Internet. [The femtocell has to be associated with the target’s home carrier for this to work.]

[Update: As a few readers have pointed out, the hack in the episode may have involved using the OTA key to send malware to the phone via a malicious text message. It’s been well-documented (as we’ve reported) that a remote administrative tool (RAT) type of malware could allow a remote attacker to eavesdrop on a victim using an Android device’s microphone. Cracking the OTA key would allow that sort of malware to be injected into the phone by masquerading as the carrier. That approach is entirely plausible, though it may not have been carried out as quickly as in the episode, despite the use of a cloud-based DES cracking tool.]

Regardless of the series’ staff stretching the truth a tad, the fact that a cable television show is going through the trouble of featuring the Pwn Phone in the first place, and working with consultants and PwnieExpress to ensure the highest degree of realism possible speaks volumes about Mr. Robot and overall interest in modern day infosec. Hopefully, the days of CSI: Cyber-types are long behind us.

Note: PwnieExpress enjoyed its Mr. Robot experience so much that the company is promoting the unexpected publicity by offering a giveaway of a Pwn Phone through a contest. Pwnie is also posting links to downloads that will let individuals turn their own Android devices into Pwn Phones.

Hear more from the PwnieExpress team about their big cameo (and from one of the writers responsible for last week’s episode, Lucy Teitler) on our latest Decrypted podcast. If you have feedback, show ideas, or even questions for future weeks, get in touch through the comments section, on iTunes, or via e-mail. Host Nathan Mattise will totally upvote your comments in exchange for iTunes ratings.

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Days Gone Game Download for Android

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Days Gone is an open-world survival horror and action-adventure video game developed by SIE Bend Studio. Moreover, this horror-adventure game published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Unreal Engine 4 used for the development of this game. The game set in a post-apocalyptic Oregon held after a global pandemic. However, a former drifter Deacon St. John. seeks to survive with the help of his mate by staying in a shelter with resources like food, water, weapons, and booze.

Days Gone Android

App Version 1.0 BETA
Apk Size 112 MB
Publisher Sony
Supported Versions Android 4.1 and up
App Package com.sony.daysgone
Content Rating PG13+

How to Install Days Gone on Android

  • Go to the apk website to download Days Gone APK.
  • Open Days Gone.apk either from the download folder on your Android Device.
  • Allow an unknown resource to be installed on your phone. However, you will get the launcher on your mobile phone and tap on it.
  • Complete the verification process and additional data download. Next, play the game on your mobile.

Gameplay

As I already said, the game sets in a post-apocalyptic environment and the main protagonist is Deacon St. John. The third-person view of the game is the player navigates an open-world setting. The player uses handguns, equipment with improvised weapons. Stealth is used to protect and defend against hostile humans and creatures.

The main player is to complete his objectives by using stealth mode or assault mode. The weather is dynamic like day-night cycle mode and also features slow by day. Fast by night with deep thrill chilling environment. John’s transportation is a motorcycle, and it is modified with several parts to enhance speed and durability.  As a player, you need to defend yourself against threats as it is a survival-horror game. Take care of your vehicle because you need to travel to different locations, clean the bandit camps, freak dens, and killing zombies.

Related: PUBG lite hack app: Latest Version September 2021

Game Features

The game featured a muddy and disturbed environment with zombies and firefighters, and the graphics are good, and the story is interesting with the necessary action. The game background music is good and apt to the environment. John’s character was well designed. Especially, his face features angry, sullen, and when it comes to his personal life. His wife has been divorced and claimed to be death.

Related: PUBG Mobile Lite new update, Download APK- Latest news

Days Gone PS4

Players can experience epic gameplay with additional features. They can play the game with their earned weapons, NERO boosters, skills, collectibles, and more. You can play NG+ on any mode like easy, normal, hard, and survival. Additionally, players can new trophies and new weapons from several modes.

Days Gone PC

Players begin a new journey on PC. They have two challenge modes Survival Mode and Challenge Mode. Players can play the main story, and also they can access new game content. In Survival, I and Survival II modes are difficult to play because enemies are harder. Indicators removed, and no fast travel and gameplay are highly tensed environment.  In Challenge mode, there are 12 different challenges available. The player needs to fight with zombies, freaks, and bike races as he needs to climb up the leaderboard. The player can earn credits to unlock bike skins and characters.

Related: Free Fire Max registration: Release Date, How to Download APK, Rewards, Redeem Codes Details

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Download Modern Critical Warfare action offline games 2018 APK 0.0.2j for Android

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World of Warcraft Action Offline

The World of Warcraft is all set to release its newest epic, the Modern Critical Strikes package that promises to be an expansion pack for World of Warcraft, and one that many are expecting to be well worth the money spent on it. As always, Blizzard Entertainment will be releasing a new patch with this new game, and it will be essential to players to make sure they are up to date on this before downloading and installing the latest patch. Not only will the new game to add a number of new levels and additional content, it will also include brand new equipment for the characters in the game, as well as a brand new system for playing” PvE “and” PvP “online. Here are some of the details about the exciting new addition to World of Warcraft:

There are currently over a dozen World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing games available, but only one of them offers players the chance to truly enjoy the highly addictive action that is the staple of modern critical combat, with a number of unique settings and combat mechanics that are not found in other MMORPGs. STJ Games, Incorporated has developed a number of fantastic arcade style mobile games, and now they have decided to bring this excellent content to life on the Android platform. As with the other versions of the Modern Critical Strike series, users will find that the touch screen interface is easily navigable, and that Android users will really enjoy the various little details that have been added to this popular action-adventure game. A great deal of the fun comes from the new arcade style level design that Blizzard has used, and players will have a good amount of fun figuring out how to defeat the ever growing numbers of enemies that appear on screen.

This all adds up to an exciting prospect for avid World of Warcraft players around the world, and it looks as though the company is gearing up for a number of new releases, including perhaps the return of the Lich King. With the success of STJ games on consoles, it’s only a matter of time before the PC version becomes available. Of course, the success or failure of STJ depends on whether or not the player base continues to grow as rapidly as the developer hopes it will. As you might expect, the success of STJ depends very much on the user base, which would seem to indicate that there are a lot of people out there who play this game. Whether or not they can enjoy it on their PC is another matter entirely.

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How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6, android and iOS

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PUBG Mobile 1.6: How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6 on your android and iOS, Download Link and Step by step guide
PUBG Mobile 1.6: How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6 on your android and iOS, Download Link and Step by step guide

PUBG Mobile 1.6: How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6 on your android and iOS, Download Link and Step by step guide – After the massive success of the PUBG Mobile 1.5 Update, Krafton has given PUBG Mobile players another reason to be excited. The much-awaited PUBGM 1.6 update is live for players globally with new maps, weapons, vehicles, and many other cool features. Players can download the game on their mobile devices from the Google Play Store (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS). Sometimes users face the problem while downloading the game but don’t worry we have covered you. In this article, we have covered all steps to download the PUBG Mobile 1.6 Update APK and OBB file on your mobile.

PUBG Mobile 1.6: How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6 on your android and iOS, Download Link and Step by step guide

PUBG Mobile 1.6 Update: PUBG pros and enthusiasts alike can download the game and enjoy the new feature on their mobile. If you don’t have PUBG Mobile on your device and want to download it on your android device. Please head over to the Google Play Store to install the game on the device. If you having any problem with downloading the game from Google Play Store, we have got you covered. We bring the download link of PUBG Mobile 1.6 Update APK and OBB File from where you can download the game on your device.

Also Read: PUBG New State delayed: Check the new release date of PUBG New State leaked by Apple App store

PUBG Mobile 1.6 Update APK and OBB file: Step by step guide to install

Latest APK Download Link– Download now

Latest OBB File Download Link- Download now

PUBG Mobile 1.6: How to download PUBG Mobile 1.6 on your android and iOS, Download Link and Step by step guide

PUBG Mobile 1.6 APK & OBB Global Version Download Link and Step by step guide?

Step 1: To begin the installation process, players need to download the APK file from the given link.

Step 2: After the download is complete, players need to enable the “Install from unknown source”. Ignore this step if done already.

Step 3: Locate & Install the downloaded APK file on your device

Step 4: After installation, open the game & download all the necessary resources. Once the process has complete players may restart the game & enjoy the all-new Titan theme at the battlegrounds.

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