Risk
1/24/2011
10:08 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

New Age of Mobile Malware On Way

New types of malware are emerging, designed specifically to exploit the unique features of mobile handsets.

New types of malware are emerging, designed specifically to exploit the unique features of mobile handsets.People carry their mobile handsets everywhere. And they're increasingly using their smartphones as the portals into their lives: GPS navigation, social networking, camera, and staying in touch via e-mail and, sometimes, even phone calls.

Such as the Geinimi Trojan, we covered in December, that was targeting Android phones. Or the virus that infected 1 million cell phones in China, and would automatically send text messages. There have been many others, including proof-of-concept viruses and bogus applications aimed at app stores.

Recently researchers at the City University of Hong Kong and Indiana University decided to see what malware they could develop that would take advantage of some of the capabilities specific to mobile handsets.

What came from their research they're calling Soundminer, an emerging kind of sensory-based malware:

In this paper, we report our research on sensory malware, a new strain of smartphone malware that uses on-board sen- sors to collect private user information. We present Sound- miner, a stealthy Trojan with innocuous permissions that can sense the context of its audible surroundings to target and extract a very small amount of high-value data.

As sensor-rich smartphones become more ubiquitous, sensory malware has the potential to breach the privacy of individuals at mass scales. While naive approaches may up- load raw sensor data to the malware master, we show that sensory malware can be stealthy and put minimal load on the malware master's resources.

Soundminer snoops on phone calls and can reportedly record when a user keys in, or speaks, a credit card number into their phone. And it can, its creators claim, successfully avoid anti-virus detection.

The student's research paper is available here [.pdf].

Get ready for a new kind of malware. Malware that takes advantage of the phone, text messages, camera, GPS, downloaded applications, and mobile transactions.

The malware that is produced will only be limited by malware authors' imaginations and the ability of mobile operating systems and security software to detect and stop it.

It's going to be a fascinating few years.

For my security and technology observations, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2008-3277
Published: 2014-04-15
Untrusted search path vulnerability in a certain Red Hat build script for the ibmssh executable in ibutils packages before ibutils-1.5.7-2.el6 in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 and ibutils-1.2-11.2.el5 in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan Horse p...

CVE-2010-2236
Published: 2014-04-15
The monitoring probe display in spacewalk-java before 2.1.148-1 and Red Hat Network (RHN) Satellite 4.0.0 through 4.2.0 and 5.1.0 through 5.3.0, and Proxy 5.3.0, allows remote authenticated users with permissions to administer monitoring probes to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, rela...

CVE-2011-3628
Published: 2014-04-15
Untrusted search path vulnerability in pam_motd (aka the MOTD module) in libpam-modules before 1.1.3-2ubuntu2.1 on Ubuntu 11.10, before 1.1.2-2ubuntu8.4 on Ubuntu 11.04, before 1.1.1-4ubuntu2.4 on Ubuntu 10.10, before 1.1.1-2ubuntu5.4 on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and before 0.99.7.1-5ubuntu6.5 on Ubuntu 8.0...

CVE-2012-0214
Published: 2014-04-15
The pkgAcqMetaClearSig::Failed method in apt-pkg/acquire-item.cc in Advanced Package Tool (APT) 0.8.11 through 0.8.15.10 and 0.8.16 before 0.8.16~exp13, when updating from repositories that use InRelease files, allows man-in-the-middle attackers to install arbitrary packages by preventing a user fro...

CVE-2013-4768
Published: 2014-04-15
The web services APIs in Eucalyptus 2.0 through 3.4.1 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service via vectors related to the "network connection clean up code" and (1) Cloud Controller (CLC), (2) Walrus, (3) Storage Controller (SC), and (4) VMware Broker (VB).

Best of the Web