October 4, 2005 10:05 AM PDT

Text hackers may threaten cell phones

Hackers could take down cellular networks by inundating their popular text-messaging services with spam, researchers say.
The New York Times

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Antispam software probably insufficient
Oooh...that makes me feel better. Verizon has antispam software. Because my email inbox shows me how well antispam software works.

What happens if someone launches a distributed denial of service attack, using thousands of disperse PCs, with messages that do not look like spam? Messages like "Come home soon" and a few thousand other variants would likely get past any spam filters -- and if you're doing this to disrupt service, rather than sell something, then who cares what the actual text of the message is?

Hopefully this is something that can be secured sooner rather than later. I'm a little worried about posting this kind of information publicly in the first place -- if it really takes only a few hundred messages a second pushed onto the network, then it's likely a small group of people COULD come up with a way to exploit this, regardless of what they say.

It seems to me you've just given potential terrorists a handbook, haven't you? But at least public pressure may get phone companies to honestly evaluate their vulnerabilities.
Posted by E B (267 comments )
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