It will come as soon as it leaves and the damage will be irreparable. In a matter of seconds, your iPhone can be taken over, leaving you absolutely powerless.
Two researchers, Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner, have found a flaw in the iPhone’s SMS text messaging system that allows hackers to send a text message that gives them complete power over the phone. The message, a small, symmetrical square is the perfect indicator to an iPhone user that their phone has been hijacked in such a beautifully simple manner. Once the hijacker has control he/she can dial the phone, visit web sites, turn on the device’s camera and microphone and, most importantly, send more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking.
There is no definitive way to protect yourself against these viral text messages as of yet, but the researchers hope that in identifying the flaw and notifying Apple, there will be patches and changes to the system to prevent malicious attackers from executing what could be a fatal virus. Unfortunately, the researchers plan has not gone as planned. They reported this hole in the system over a month ago to Apple, but no patch has been made to correct it. The researchers contend that possibly turning off your phone as soon as possible after recieving a text message might be a short term solution that could deter the hacker.
Using SMS text messaging to deliver viruses to smart phones should be a priority in cybersecurity. These attacks are only the tip of a very large, Titanic-esque iceberg.
We are in a new Cold War- hackers vs. cybersecurity- trying to explore the final frontier: SMS hacking. The chase is no longer a game; it’s necessary to prevent millions of users from becoming victims.