And it was easy. Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, agreed to be the news show’s guinea pig for a piece on smartphone vulnerability and was given an uncompromised iPhone to use. As soon as the 60 Minutes hacking team obtained Lieu’s phone number, they were able to listen to and record all the the calls from the phone by accessing a flaw in the SS7 network that connects mobile networks across the world. Using the flaw, the hackers were also able to track his movements even when location services on the iPhone were turned off.
“Last year, the president of the United States called me on my cellphone. And we discussed some issues. So if the hackers were listening in, they would know that phone conversation. And that’s immensely troubling,” the congressman said.
The hacker team didn’t stop there. Within seconds of the 60 Minutes reporter connecting her smartphone to a spoofed hotel Wi-Fi network, the hackers were able to access her complete emails and phone records, movements from ride-hailing apps, and credit card numbers. “We live in a world where we cannot trust the technology that we use,” one of the hackers said.