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Is it possible to block a cell phone with an SMS? Yes…

ataque-sms-de-la-muerte

A few years ago the Curse of Silence appeared that affected Nokia S60 series phones and recently researchers Nico Golde and Collin Mulliner (@collinrm) discovered a series of vulnerabilities that affect the world's most used cell phones.

Devices disconnected from the GSM network by malicious SMS

Yesterday they presented a talk titled SMS-o-Death: From Analyzing To Attacking Mobile Phones on a Large Scale at the Vancouver CanSecWest security conference.

They all showed that a Specially designed SMS He could block cell phones from the most recognized brands such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Micromax (widely used in India).

The consequences of the attack vary in each model, but basically it is possible to restart the device, turn it off, disconnect it from the GSM network and block it on an error screen. Also, the message is not recorded, so the victim probably never knows what is happening.

Ways to send large amounts of messages

Research shows that not only do today's smartphones have vulnerabilities, older models can also be attacked, and there is virtually nothing that can be done to prevent this.

At the end of 2010 Nico and Collin were also at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, their full presentation can be seen on YouTube (in English):

See also: Forge sender in text messages (SMS spoofing). Attacks on VoIP infrastructure.