Mobiles threatened by denial of service attacks

Security researchers at Pennsylvania State University have warned that mobile phones could be at risk from denial of service attacks spread through text messaging.

Security researchers at Pennsylvania State University have warned that mobile phones could be at risk from denial of service attacks spread through text messaging.

 

In a report, the researchers suggest attackers could build up databases of mobile numbers from specific regions and then flood those numbers with unwanted text messages. Attackers could use publicly available websites or messaging clients on “zombie” computers to send the text messages, which would eventually jam up the systems that carriers use to send and receive SMS messages from mobile phones.

 

Because mobile phones use the same small portion of radio frequency to both set up calls and send SMS messages, a flood of SMS messages would so overwhelm a cellular tower that it would effectively prevent any new phone calls from going through.

 

It would take apparently little more than a cable modem to deny service to large metropolitan areas in the US . For example, a city the size of Washington could be taken out by a denial of service attack with a bandwidth of about 2.8mbps.

 

Nokia has just done a deal with Symantec to incorporate Symantec’s Mobile Security antivirus program into its Series 60 smartphones. The software is designed to thwart attacks that could compromise the extensive data that people store on their phones.

 

There is little doubt that mobile phones’ very ubiquitousness makes them a tempting target for hackers. What is needed is an exercise by the mobile providers to educate users on the security precautions they should take.

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