Feeds

iPhone worms can create mobile botnets

Paranoid, and not just about Android

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A detailed analysis of the most malign in a recent spate of iPhone worms points to future mobile botnet risks.

The IKee-B (Duh) iPhone worm, released in late November, exploited default root passwords on jailbroken iPhones to turn the smartphones into botnet clients under the control of a server based in Lithuania. The worm affected iPhone users in The Netherlands, and specifically targeted customers of Dutch online bank ING Direct.

Security researchers at SRI International - noted for top notch work in dissecting the Conficker botnet - published an analysis of the iPhone botnet on Monday that warns users of Apple's device and similar smartphones to expect more of the same in future. Warnings about mobile malware have been circulating for years. But it's only since the advent of iPhones and other smartphones, allowing decent internet access with what's essentially a mini-computer, that such risks have become tangible, rather than the stuff of anti-virus vendor PowerPoint slides, SRI warns.

Unlike the previous generation of cell phones that were at their worst susceptible to local Bluetooth hijacking, modern Internet-tethered cellphones are today susceptible to being probed, fingerprinted, and surreptitiously exploited by hackers from anywhere on the internet.

Although the iKee.B botnet discussed here admittedly offers a rather limited growth potential, iKee.B nevertheless provides an interesting proof of concept that much of the functionality we have grown to expect from PC-based botnets can be easily migrated into a lightweight smartphone application. iKee.B demonstrates that a victim holding an iPhone in Australia can be hacked from another iPhone located in Hungary, and forced to exfiltrate its user's private data to a Lithuania C&C server, which may then upload new instructions to steal financial data from the Australian user's online bank account. While it is unclear just how well prepared smartphone users are to this new reality, it is clear that malware developers are preparing for this new reality right now.

SRI's researchers conclude that although the Ikee-B worm is simpler than its PC relatives, it comes with the potential to evolve in something even nastier.

The iKee bot is one of the latest offerings in smartphone malware, in this case targeting jailbroken iPhones. While its implementation is simple in comparison to the latest generation of PC-based malware, its implications demonstrate the potential extension of crimeware to this valuable new frontier of handheld consumer devices.

The analysis, based on reverse engineering of the malicious code, by SRI's researchers can be found here. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.