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A team of researchers from University of Florida, Stony Brook University, and Samsung Research America has discovered that Attention (AT) commands, which date back to the 1980s, can be used to compromise Android devices. These modem and phone line controls originally told phones to dial, or hang up a call and so on. Over time, the use of AT commands expanded into modern protocols like SMS texting, 3G, and LTE, and even came to include custom commands for things like launching a camera or controlling a touchscreen on a smartphone.
In addition to the researchers' sprawling findings about AT commands through USB interfaces, they also note that Bluetooth and other connectivity standards support AT commands. This means that there's a whole potential ecosystem of exposure from the commands beyond exploiting them through USB ports.