'SMS of Death' Text Message Renders Phones Inoperable

/ Source: SecurityNewsDaily

Cell phones, cower in fear: the "SMS of Death" is here.

A team of cybersecurity researchers have specially crafted a malicious text message – dubbed the "SMS of Death" – that can render cell phones that receive it completely inoperable, according to a report by the security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Collin Mulliner and Nico Golde demonstrated the deathly message at this week’s Chaos Communication Congress, a hacking conference in Berlin.

After creating a GSM mobile network in their lab, Mulliner and Golde sent the corrupted text message to thousands of phones. Some had their calls interrupted or disconnected upon receiving the text, while others just plain broke.

Samsung, LG and other cell phones that allow Web browsing but are less technologically advanced than Androids and iPhones are particularly susceptible to falling victim to the SMS of Death. These types of handsets make up roughly 85 percent of the world’s phones.

Mulliner said he and his colleague built the SMS of Death to spur the mobile phone industry into revamping its cybersecurity defenses.

Mobile devices have become increasingly popular vectors for malware attacks. An SMS trojan for Android devices was recently discovered, and flaws in the iPhone and Blackberry have been exploited as well.