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SMS of Death could disable the majority of feature phones

Posted: , by Ken N.

SMS of Death could disable the majority of feature phones
At the Chaos Computer Club Congress, researchers demonstrated how vulnerable our trusty feature phones really are. They found that a malicious text message, called the 'SMS of Death,' could potentially disable all feature phones.

Collin Mulliner and Nico Golde of Berlin's Technical University set up their own GSM network in a lab. That allowed them to further test devices by sending potentially damaging messages. They discovered that popular feature phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung, and Motorola were all vulnerable to a particular kind of text message.

Individual results varied between devices. Some units were disconnected from the network, and then forced to reboot. The message would then continue to be received, and perpetually send a signal to reboot. Other devices were simply shut down, and disconnected from the network.

This might not sound like a major problem, especially considering the vulnerability of smartphones. But if someone were to manipulate an SMS marketer's servers, they could offload the malicious text to a great number of customers, or even an entire carrier. Some police departments utilize their phones for communication. If a criminal were to send the SMS of Death to those officers, their communications could be severed.

So while most of our readers are smartphone owners, we should still be mindful of the potential threats to feature phones. One of the most important steps for OEMs and carriers is to provide OTA updates for feature phones, that might at least limit their vulnerability.

source: Gizmodo

7 Comments
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posted on 29 Dec 2010, 01:51

1. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


Great thanks news for letting the criminals know that they can sever police communications :D

posted on 29 Dec 2010, 08:14 1

2. ilikeyournameclever (unregistered)


i like when ppl give ideas to ppl that most likely would have not thought of that

posted on 29 Dec 2010, 12:27

3. maccmill (Posts: 67; Member since: 29 Oct 2010)


F the police. I hope they get the sms of death.

posted on 29 Dec 2010, 16:41 1

5. WP7Fan (unregistered)


I hope they do too. Will come in handy when im robbing your house.

posted on 29 Dec 2010, 14:33 1

4. iverizon (unregistered)


That is where CDMA and verizon comes in. Notice they state GSM only...hmmmm

posted on 29 Dec 2010, 21:01

6. Cugino123 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Dec 2010)


You also may have noticed that the study was done in Germany, where the standard cell phone technology used is GSM.

posted on 19 Jan 2011, 06:34

7. Theresa (unregistered)


That is so crazy, I hope no one sends me an sms like that. I would track hin down and sue his butt.

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