You drop your smartphone and now there are a million cracks and you can hardly read your texts. Getting the screen replaced by the manufacturer of the phone is usually expensive and sometimes it is so expensive that it makes more sense just to buy a new phone.
But some will bypass the manufacturer and buy a replacement screen from a third party in order to save money. Think twice about going this route.
According to a study led by researchers at Ben Gurion University, “Shattered Trust: When replacement smartphone components attack,” certain replacement parts for smartphones that are bought from third party manufacturers, including replacement displays, NFC readers, and components for wireless charging can be used to hack into the smartphone.
The researchers found that third-party source code can be integrated into the vendor’s source code and the screen actually looks like the regular screen, but is accessing all of the information on the phone in the background.
This occurs when a malicious chip is put into the screen and then can record all communication of the smartphone including emails, text messages, keystrokes for telephone calls and to use the device for illegal activity using apps.
The components are so sophisticated that they look like the real component and technicians might not be able to tell the difference. Even more concerning is the fact that antivirus tools don’t detect it and integrity checks and security protocols are not available for third-party component parts.
So although the smartphone manufacturers charge a lot for component parts, consider using the manufacturer’s component parts instead of buying a cheaper one online from a third party manufacturer. In this case, you do get what you pay for—a compromise of all of the information on your smartphone.