Tuesday, 10 Mar, 2009 Technology

Get Ready for Cell Phone Botnets


According to a US security company, botnets, which represent networks of hacked computers used to support cybercrime without any awareness from their owners, may become mobile in the near future.

It is worth mentioning that a new cell phone virus is able to spread by sending out a number of text messages that ask users to visit a weblink.

In its latest report, Fortinet, a network security firm with headquarters in California, states that though users have to choose in order to follow the link, the cell phone worm generates a bridge that connects cell phones with the Internet.

Statistics show that one in four computers in the United States is part of a botnet. Botnets can link millions of computers that can be then used to send out spam email or get money from website owners.

One of the latest cell phone viruses is entitled Yxes.A or Sexy View. The worm targets cell phones that are running the S60 3rd edition of Symbian OS.

One of such phones is Nokia 3250.According to Derek Manky, project manager for cyber security and threat research at Fortinet, in the near future different mobile devices will face much more threats than they do now.

"We are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg with Sexy View, but we predict much more to come with the growth of mobile platforms, applications and broader bandwidth," he said.

Besides being able to interfere with a cell phone's function, Sexy View is able to collect information about the serial number of the phone and the cell phone number of the user, which is the main goal of the worm. Gathered information is sent back to a remote server.

However, experts still don't know how hackers use the gathered information. In case the cell phone worm is upgraded to the level where it can gain more access to a phone, it may lead to the creation of botnet-like mobile networks. Thus, hackers will be able to attack websites using zombie cell phones.

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