By Joan Goodchild
December 14, 2010
Smartphones could soon be used to launch distributed attacks, much like
traditional PCs are now used as parts of larger botnet networks,
according to a new report from ENISA, the European Network and
Information Security Agency. In research that details the many risks of
smartphones, the findings claim that while the devices are not currently
being targeted for such attacks, this may change as mobile devices are
becoming more popular, more connected and the complexity and the number
of vulnerabilities in these platforms is increasing.
Smartphone botnets could be used for familiar crimes such as spam, click
fraud and DDoS, the report claims. Since smartphones interface with
cellular networks, they could also be used for new distributed attack
scenarios; such as SMS spam and DDoS on telephony networks. Such attacks
could be used to support wider attacks on, for example, other
"Mobile phone coverage is becoming increasingly vital, especially in the
event of an emergency, so smartphones open up new possibilities for DDoS
attacks with potentially serious impacts," according to the findings.
In an example, the report cites an example of a 2001 virus that impacted
DoCoMo, a Japanese mobile operator. The 'i-mode virus' had access to
call interfaces, which were available to malicious emails at the time
and caused the user's device to dial emergency numbers.
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