Attacks/Breaches
11/10/2010
11:59 AM
50%
50%

Hackers Hijack 1 Million China Cell Phones

Zombie text sending malware is racking up $300,000 in charges per day.

How Firesheep Can Hijack Web Sessions
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: How Firesheep Can Hijack Web Sessions

More than 1 million cell phone users in China has been infected with a virus that automatically sends text messages, and the attack is costing users a combined 2 million yuan ($300,000 U.S.) per day.

According to Shanghai Daily, "the 'zombie' virus, hidden in a bogus antivirus application, can send the phone user's SIM card information to hackers, who then remotely control the phone to send URL links."

Some of the dispatched text messages contain links to more viruses. Click the link, and your phone could likewise be infected. Other text messages get automatically dispatched to premium-rate phone numbers, generating profits for the attackers while draining subscribers' accounts.

Mobile security expert Zou Shihong at Beijing University Posts and Telecommunications likened the new attack to a pyramid scheme, since by texting everyone in an infected user's address book, the malicious code has the potential to spread exponentially.

According to Zhou Yonglin, an official with China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Team, about 1 million cell phones had been infected since the beginning of September, and mobile operators were having difficulty eradicating the malicious application, owing to the breakneck pace of new variations appearing.

The cell phone virus attack mirrors the Troj/SymbSms-A malware seen earlier this year, which infects Symbian phones. That particular attack targeted Russian cell phone subscribers, infecting their phones with a virus that automatically texted premium-rate Russian phone numbers.

Expect an increase in the number of viruses that target cell phones for profit, according to a recent analysis of mobile device security trends from security vendor Imperva. "We expect exponential growth in the number of incidents related to mobile devices in the next few years... from theft or compromise of information in these devices, through massive infection campaigns, and up to frequent [exploits] of the vulnerabilities introduced into the server side."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2174
Published: 2015-05-24
Cisco TelePresence T, TelePresence TE, and TelePresence TC before 7.1 do not properly implement access control, which allows remote attackers to obtain root privileges by sending packets on the local network and allows physically proximate attackers to obtain root privileges via unspecified vectors,...

CVE-2015-0713
Published: 2015-05-24
The web framework in Cisco TelePresence Advanced Media Gateway Series Software before 1.1(1.40), Cisco TelePresence IP Gateway Series Software, Cisco TelePresence IP VCR Series Software before 3.0(1.27), Cisco TelePresence ISDN Gateway Software before 2.2(1.94), Cisco TelePresence MCU Software befor...

CVE-2015-0722
Published: 2015-05-24
The network drivers in Cisco TelePresence T, Cisco TelePresence TE, and Cisco TelePresence TC before 7.3.2 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (process restart or device reload) via a flood of crafted IP packets, aka Bug ID CSCuj68952.

CVE-2015-1894
Published: 2015-05-24
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in IBM InfoSphere Optim Workload Replay 2.x before 2.1.0.3 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that insert XSS sequences.

CVE-2015-1895
Published: 2015-05-24
IBM InfoSphere Optim Workload Replay 2.x before 2.1.0.3 relies on client-side code to verify authorization, which allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions by modifying the client behavior.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.