Vulnerabilities / Threats
1/28/2009
07:53 PM
50%
50%

Nokia Fixes 'Curse Of Silence' Exploit

The vulnerability could crash millions of Nokia handsets' SMS system with a single malformed text message.

Nokia has released a fix for the "Curse of Silence" exploit, a denial-of-service attack that could potentially shut down millions of phones' SMS systems.

The exploit enables malicious programmers to specially format an e-mail to be sent as a text message by setting the message's Protocol Identifier to "Internet Electronic Mail." If the message contains more than 32 characters, certain S60 devices would not be able to receive other SMS or multimedia messages. Depending on the handset, the vulnerability could damage the targeted phone with a single message.

Millions of handsets were potentially vulnerable to this exploit, including UIQ devices and handsets running S60 2nd Edition Feature Packs 2 and 3, S60 3rd Edition, and 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1. Nearly any device capable of sending SMS as "Internet Electronic Mail" can send a malicious message.

Users who are vulnerable to this exploit can download an SMS Cleaner from Nokia. Once installed, the application will cleanse the device of malformed messages and restore the functionality of the messaging system. Once the application has completed the process, it will restart the phone and uninstall itself.

The exploit was discovered by researcher Tobias Engel an independent researcher who made his findings known to F-Secure, and later made public at the Chaos Communication Congress event last year. The security firm said it made Nokia aware of the exploit months before it was exposed, and it sold software that protected users from the vulnerability.

While there hasn't been a widespread attack on smartphones, most security experts believe it's a matter of time with vulnerabilities showing up for high-profile devices like the iPhone 3G and the T-Mobile G1. InformationWeek recently took a look at how enterprises can incorporate smartphones to boost productivity while making sure the data is secured, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

The article was edited on 1/30 to clarify Mr. Englel's relationship to F-Secure.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Latest Comment: nice one good
Current Issue
E-Commerce Security: What Every Enterprise Needs to Know
The mainstream use of EMV smartcards in the US has experts predicting an increase in online fraud. Organizations will need to look at new tools and processes for building better breach detection and response capabilities.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join Dark Reading community editor Marilyn Cohodas in a thought-provoking discussion about the evolving role of the CISO.