Hack Turns Smartphones Into Zombies
What if 100,000 cell phones called you at once? That might happen if a new hacking technique invented by a security researcher falls into the wrong hands.
Cyberdefense researcher Georgia Weidman has developed a technology that turns Android smartphones and iPhones into zombie botnets capable of spamming out texts with malicious code without the user's knowledge, according to the security site Dark Reading.
Weidman plans to demonstrate her proof-of-concept hack at this weekend's ShmooCon 2011 convention in Washington, D.C.
In the same way PC botnets work, Weidman says her hack links a network of infected smartphones into a single unified front led by a master phone.
And just as with massive computer botnets, the zombie army of smartphones communicates without the knowledge of the phones' users in this case, through undetectable text messages that sail right past the phones' built-in security defenses.
Apps rigged with corrupted software carry the malicious code used as ammunition by the smartphone army, Weidman said.
This doesn't bode well for the future of stopping smartphone malware.
Smartphones are the ideal place for malware writers to move to, because smartphones are getting more powerful and more capable all the time. I believe this is where malware is going, Weidman said.
This is no surprise to security experts, who have long warned of the dangers of malware and identity theft posed by rogue smartphone apps . Many smartphone applications do not have to go through a rigorous vetting process before being released to the general public.