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Zack Morris

cell phone virus

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NEW YORK (AP) -- For malicious computer hackers and virus writers, the next frontier in mischief is the mobile phone.

 

A phone virus or "Trojan horse" program might instruct your phone to do extraordinary things, computer security experts say.

 

It might call the White House or the police with a bizarre hoax.

 

It might forward your personal address book to a sleazy telemarketing firm.

 

Or it could simply eat into the phone's operating software, shutting it down and erasing your personal information.

 

Similar nasty hijinks have already dogged cell phone owners in Japan and Europe.

 

"If a malicious piece of code gets control of your phone, it can do everything you can do," said Ari Hypponen, chief technical officer of Helsinki-based F-Secure Corp., a computer security firm. "It can call toll numbers. It can get your messages and send them elsewhere. It can record your passwords."

 

As cellular phones morph into computer-like "smartphones" able to surf the Web, send e-mail and download software, they're prone to the same tribulations that have waylaid computers over the past decade.

 

"We should think of cell phones as just another set of computers on the Internet," said Stephen Trilling, director of research at antivirus software maker Symantec Corp. "If they're connected to the Internet they can be used to transmit threats and attack targets, just as any computer can. It's technically possible right now."

 

In Japan, deviant e-mail messages sent to cell phones contained an Internet link that, when clicked, caused phones to repeatedly dial the national emergency number -- equivalent to 911. The wireless carrier halted all emergency calls until the bug was removed.

 

In Europe, handsets' short message service, or SMS, has been used to randomly send pieces of binary code that crashes phones, forcing the user to detach the battery and reboot. A new, more sinister version keeps crashing the phone until the SMS message is deleted from the carrier's server.

 

In the United States, relatively primitive cell phone technology keeps users immune from such tricks, for now.

 

Phone hacking is nothing new. In the 1970s, so-called "phone phreakers" made free phone calls -- and even gained control of major phone trunk lines -- by whistling certain tones into the receiver.

 

Captain Crunch

"It was easy," said John Draper, 58, of Stockton, California.

 

Draper, now a designer of computer security software, is still known as Captain Crunch for pioneering the hacking of phone networks with the help of a plastic whistle that came in a box of the eponymous breakfast cereal.

 

"You could control the entire network, do anything an operator could do," Draper said.

 

Now, at least three software companies have released personal security software for emerging smartphones, girding for a new wave of phone viruses and Captain Crunch-style tricks.

 

Hypponen's F-Secure is one such firm, selling antivirus and encryption software for smartphone operating systems made by Palm, Microsoft and the Symbian platform common in Europe.

 

Thus far, there have been no publicized reports of phone hacking or viruses, although viruses have attacked handhelds running the Palm operating system. Microsoft predicts deviant code will soon emerge for handhelds running its Pocket PC software. Both operating systems are expected to be used increasingly in smartphones.

 

A virus is a piece of malevolent code that self-replicates, while a Trojan horse does not but can be just as destructive. The pranks in Europe and Japan created virus-like havoc, but did not propagate like a full-fledged virus.

 

For virus writers who crave notoriety by wreaking maximum havoc, there are still too few smartphones, and no widespread software platform to attack, Hypponen said.

 

Changes coming

That is starting to change.

 

Until recently, cell phone operating systems were "closed," unable to download software. But new smartphones -- like the Nokia Communicator, Handspring's Treo, Motorola's Java Phone and Mitsubishi's Trium-Mondo -- are open to such third-party downloads.

 

At the same time, software developers' tools available for designers of such programs as games and currency converters can also be used to create malicious applications, Hypponen said.

 

"It's possible for anyone to make custom software for this platform," he said. "Teens can download development tools and write their own software."

 

It's these third-party programs that worry experts. If one is disguised as a Trojan horse, an infected phone could make some calls on its own.

 

In a speech at a cell phone conference in France last month, Hypponen cited a Slovak Web site, virus.cyberspace.sk, that posted a bulletin exhorting readers to create phone viruses.

 

'"We are starting Cell Phone Virus Challenge. Any contribution welcomed,"' Hypponen quoted the notice as saying. The page has since been taken down.

 

Soon, mobile phone owners will be obliged to install security software like "personal firewalls" that used to be reserved for Internet servers, said Prakash Panjwani, a senior vice president at Certicom Corp., a computer security firm in Hayward, California.

 

"That's where things are going," said Panjwani. "It's the same threat as the wired world: people posing as you, stealing your identity or your personal information, and using your information for malicious purposes."

 

Cell phone users can avoid this, of course, by sticking with their old "dumb" phones, said Alan Reiter, a wireless consultant in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

 

"There are trade-offs," said Reiter. "Do you want a phone with a tiny monochrome screen where you can only make phone calls? That's much more secure."

 

"You could control the entire network, do anything an operator could do," Draper said.

 

Now, at least three software companies have released personal security software for emerging smartphones, girding for a new wave of phone viruses and Captain Crunch-style tricks.

 

Hypponen's F-Secure is one such firm, selling antivirus and encryption software for smartphone operating systems made by Palm, Microsoft and the Symbian platform common in Europe.

 

Thus far, there have been no publicized reports of phone hacking or viruses, although viruses have attacked handhelds running the Palm operating system. Microsoft predicts deviant code will soon emerge for handhelds running its Pocket PC software. Both operating systems are expected to be used increasingly in smartphones.

 

A virus is a piece of malevolent code that self-replicates, while a Trojan horse does not but can be just as destructive. The pranks in Europe and Japan created virus-like havoc, but did not propagate like a full-fledged virus.

 

For virus writers who crave notoriety by wreaking maximum havoc, there are still too few smartphones, and no widespread software platform to attack, Hypponen said.

 

taken from cnn.com

 

 

for some reason the last paragraph was included 3 times... I fixed that...

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thats pretty crappy , but itwas bound to happen sooner or later.......good thing my cell phone is outta order right now....

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Guest Wilt

i hate cell phones...they should infect everyone...go hackers go!

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Guest NATO

ha ha phone phreakers! controlling phone lins with give a way whistles damn that sounds good.

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Guest NATO

i forgot i read something in the paper today about hackers being able to hack into wirless networks using little more and a laptop network card and a can of pringles. think im kidding?

 

Firm shows how Pringles could help hackers

 

British information security experts have demonstrated technology for hackers concealed in potato crisp packaging.

 

I-sec says its research shows many emerging corporate wireless networks are often left open to attack.

 

To prove its point it has created an antenna hidden in a Pringles tube that can identify precisely where the unprotected networks are located.

 

The firm claims that two-thirds of the networks it found roaming the city of London had been set up without encryption systems properly configured.

 

In their example, the cardboard tube is used to conceal the existence of the simple multi-directional antenna.

 

I-sec says malicious parties could very easily cobble together similar homemade devices to drive around cities looking for corporate networks.

 

"Many companies are going out a buying a wireless access point to see what it can do," managing director Geoff Davies told BBC online. "The problem is that they have opened a great big back door into their network."

 

He insists that it is easy for companies to refine their system to ensure that they are not left open to attack.

 

Story filed: 11:48 Friday 8th March 2002

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I read half too. Sounds pretty crazy. Good thing mine doesen't have all thsoe features. So I think i'm safe.

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Guest NATO
Originally posted by cmeup

whats tha article say in a shorter way?

 

key features or worries?

 

anyone?

 

:D

 

from what i gathered if you have more money than sense and own a mobile phone capable of getting online, you deserve to get it fucked up by those pesky hackers.

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Originally posted by NATO

 

from what i gathered if you have more money than sense and own a mobile phone capable of getting online, you deserve to get it fucked up by those pesky hackers.

 

 

Well said. Cell phines and technology in general are just getting out of hand. If you have it for business, or like my mum in the car only for emergencies, then fine. If you use it to talk to your friends who are in the next room for no purpose but to talk to them, or you use it for the internet or whatever, I hope you get fucked over......

 

 

Whatever happened to talking to people IN PERSON??

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"There are trade-offs," said Reiter. "Do you want a phone with a tiny monochrome screen where you can only make phone calls? That's much more secure."

 

 

 

????? THATS WHAT YOUR SUPPOSED TO USE THE FUCKING THING FOR!!!

they make it sound like your only secure if you have some kind of "primative" cell phone that ONLY makes phone calls. shit. if you wanna surf the web by a laptop or a palm pilot or somthing. fucking cell phones...

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Its all just drama and scare tactics. Its really not hard not to get infected. It's just like those email virii. Don't download stuff if you don't know what it is. simple as that.

 

how many ppl on this board have been infected by email virii?

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