For years computer users have been plagued with a constant bombardment of virus, trojan, and hijacker activity. Symantec, PC Pitstop, and a host of others have provided protection and removal.
What’s the next big target for hackers? Is it Apple? No, that’s not the next big target. The next big target is smart phones. Everyone has at least one and their use is skyrocketing.
Chinese smartphone users have seen an estimated 1 million phones infected since the begining of September, 2010. The infection is called a Zombie Virus. The virus uses text messaging to rackup an estimated $300,000.00 in US dollars or 2 million yuan a day.
Similar to standard computer virus infections, the zombie virus hides in bogus anitvirus applications and sends the users sim card information to hackers. The hackers can then remotely control the phone and send URL links to all the users contacts. This happens over and over again as the virus spreads.
Not only is this infection rapid, it is selective. The virus targets premium accounts and drains all available funds in the account. It’s easy to see how quickly a virus like this can spread when you look at the number of contacts kept in your phone.
This recent attack in China is similar to the Symbian phone attack seen in Russia earlier this year. The Russian attackers were able to single out premium account users and target them specifically.
What To Do
1. Contact your carrier and find how to block nuisance messages. Each carrier will be able to assist you.
2. Do not reply to unknown texts or phone calls.
3. Report all suspicious activity to your carrier.
Smart phone infections will continue to grow rapidly and become a huge problem. Right now the US has remained relatively Zombie free, but you can bet the future will see your cell phone being assaulted daily.
There will be the familiar morphing and changes used by hackers to discourage detection and removal. There is no doubt that this is the next frontier for software developers. Same problem, different hardware. It will be interesting to see how antivirus developers respond to the challenge.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences. I’m especially interested in whether you’ve seen an increase in solicitation calls and basic spam texting.