Feeds

Smartphone app botnet experiment blows up a storm

WeatherFist shows phone vulnerability, devs claim

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Security researchers fooled nearly 8,000 iPhone and Android users into joining a mobile smartphone "botnet" under the guise of installing an apparently innocuous weather app.

Derek Brown and Daniel Tijerina of TippingPoint's Digital Vaccine Group carried out the exercise in the run-up to a presentation at last week's RSA Conference as an illustration of how easily social engineering tricks developed on the web and with PCs might be applied to internet-enabled smartphones. The duo's WeatherFist app obtained users' GPS coordinates and telephone numbers before providing local weather forecasts.

The application was not published on either the official iPhone or Android application stores, but still attracted hundreds of takers of (presumably jailbroken) iPhones and other smartphones via third party app marketplaces, such as Cydia and SlideME (app T&Cs via Google cache here).

The researchers said they have created - but not distributed - a malicious version of the app capable of harvesting data, posting fake updates on social networking sites and sending spam.

The experiment received positive write-ups by New Scientist and Dark Reading. However other security firms have questioned the value of the exercise. Sophos, for example, argues that the faux malware created by the ethical hackers does nothing not already attempted by the real-life cybercrooks behind the Duh worm, which spread on jailbroken iPhones in the Netherlands last November. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.