Zombie Virus Attacks Millions of Smart Phones

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.


Security News


Information Week

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17 thoughts on “Zombie Virus Attacks Millions of Smart Phones”

  1. Don’t know if it’s available for IPhones, It is available for the Droid. You would need to perform a search on the app store.

  2. This makes me happy as a computer person. Tired of these cell phone idiots showing my pictures on a dinkey phone. The same people that when they bought a computer they wanted the bigest monitor they could afford.
    I new the hackers would get them soner then later.

  3. Treat your smartphone like you would your PC. surf,text,email all you like, but use your head. Would be interested in seeing comparable smartphones pitted against a “virus” and see which one is more secure. Or which one is easier to “zombify” (Blackberry? iPhone? Android OS? the new Win7 phones?)

    I’m also interested to see how antivirus software develops for smartphones… But for now I’ll stick with a “dumb” cell. I would LIKE a smartphone, but I don’t NEED it. Might as well save a few bucks for the data plan while I can!

  4. I use Anti-Virus pro. It works by using a series of algorithms to find infected content. I like it so far. There is a free version you can use that works fairly well that is characterized by a yellow capsule. . Download it from the App store.

  5. Shogan, Your article is a bit thin on info. How about advising us if their are any Anti-Virus programs that effective for Smart phones/ PDA’s. The advice about not opening those type of texts and emails has been around in Australia for a long time. Are you guys living in the back water ????????

  6. DC: “All I can say is one thing — get an iPhone”. DC maybe suppose that iPhone have made in completely in US and is only secure for use.In that case he is wrong.Some iPhone parts have made in China where U can get what ever to your Iphone.Some USB sticks have made also in China and there has founded some viruses.So dc,dont expect that you r secured than the others.Believe or not.

  7. Okay, so iphones are protected by Apple.
    Are all other phones equally vulnerable?
    Are some more vulnerable than others?

    It seems like the freedom to download free applications is the vector for the attacks.

    What if your smartphone was also your PDA?
    What if all your contacts were on it?

    It sounds like a bad application could send all that info to bad guys.

    Turning off premium text messages only prevents direct charges to our phones.
    All the other PDA data could open us up to other financial attacks.

  8. Yeah I hate having to give up info. Thanks for the heads up I will have to go make sure the premium thing is done on our accounts.

    PS Mr M might need some anger managment classes or at least a little P.C. training. Now where is all that fine print I’m suppose to read. Once during the closing of our first house we read everything on every paper. Oh my the attornies and agents involved were besides themselves.

  9. I work for Verizon Wireless® customer service and I get calls EVERY DAY from customers who have opened up a spammed text and end up getting some Premium Text application that ALWAYS costs $9.99. Is this the cost that flies under the authority’s radar? There just has to be something done about this. I wrote my congresswoman and have not heard a response.

    Here’s one of the most common http://www.solow.com

    NEVER put your cell phone number on ANY website!!!

    J.R. Sanford

  10. On Big Geek Daddys Wifes Side

    Matt, Your the one that the idiot, Almost no one at all reads the legal fine print. It’s time consuming dry reading that should not be hiding something as basic as a hidden cost, that should be right on the front page in bold red print. Any service that hides information like that in legal mumbo jumbo they know no one reads should be taken out and shot. It sounds like you may be one of those people trying to make an excuse for the execution of your nefarious deeds.

    The legals should be to protect people from stealing your ideas not to hide charges.

  11. All I can say is one thing — get an iPhone. If you don’t “jailbreak it” all the apps you can put on it come pre-screened from Apple, so you get a 99.9% guarantee that no hacker will install anything on your device. (And there’s no $9.99 charge for any premium messages either.) I know it comes with a downside of not being able to download and use apps of a “certain nature”, but we can use a PC based device for that…

  12. Matt, you’re the one who sounds like a moron, and unfortunately you are very typical of lame, immature internet posters who don’t know how to do anything but get angry when they read about people who aren’t as “expert” as they are. Some people haven’t lived their entire lives on the internet. Grow up.

  13. Obviously your wife is a moron. If one actually read the fine print on any of those website signups, one would realize that it’s a 9.99 MONTHLY charge to your phone bill for 3 texts per week.
    Secondly, this is common sense, folks. If you get something that seems off or strange on your phone, don’t open it, treat it like spam mail.

  14. Love the data!
    Many sincere thanks.
    Please get a proofreader or spell check.

    I think readers would like more detail on this great topic!
    When fraudsters “drain” money, where does the money go?
    Do they resell the phone time, as telecom hackers have traditionally done?

  15. I disabled “Premium Text Messages” in my wife’s Verizon cell phone and mine after she got a $9.99 charge for a text message she opened. Apparently she gave her phone number in an online form for something she was signing up for on a website and then they sent her the text. Opening it resulted in the charge. I didn’t even realize this was possible but the Verizon rep said it was quite common. So, check your phone bill carefully and disable Premium Texting.

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