The University of Florida and the University of New Hampshire have studied the ability of electromagnetic fields to influence electronics and have recently demonstrated an electromagnetic "invisible finger" that can remotely control sensory displays of all kinds of gadgets, including smartphones, smart watches and tablets.
According to the latest data, the results were demonstrated at the Black Hat USA 2022 hacker conference last week in Las Vegas. Using a robotic arm and antennas, it was possible to simulate remotely presses on the combo displays of several devices. According to the Techspot portal, the method uses an antenna grate to determine the location of the victim's device, and another antenna to create an electromagnetic field with precise frequencies for signaling sensors. The device processors interpreted the signals as pressing a particular type.
The research team was able to simulate short and long-term pressures, as well as scoops in any direction, on devices such as iPad, OnePlus, Google Pixel, Nexus and Surface. In theory, this allows for any smartphone action that could be carried out by a finger. In particular, the tests used technology to install harmful software on the Android Smartphone, send money through PayPal and text messages.
However, scientists are convinced that it is too early to worry, because the technology of hacking involves the use of relatively expensive equipment and there is little danger to ordinary users -- the robotic arm used to accurately position the antenna costs thousands of dollars -- and there is also a need for accurate knowledge of how a sensory display works, and the range is still limited to a few centimeters. In other words, technology will have to go a long way before it can be used in practice. However, experts warn that the technology invented once can be replicated by other experts in the future, and it may be possible to organize more effective attacks.
In 2014, Apple used the Force Touch function for iPhone and other devices, but abandoned it in 2018, at least in smartphones.
Experts suggested that the most effective way to protect against such attacks would be to place a smartphone in the "Faraday cage", but it was thought that designers would be able to come up with a beautiful solution to protect them. For example, it is similar that wallets are already being issued to prevent them from reading NFC chips. The report has already been published.