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'SMS of Death' Could Crash Many Mobile Phones

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the can-we-find-better-names-for-these-things dept.

Cellphones 108

space_in_your_face writes "Research presented at a conference in Germany last week shows that phones don't even have to be smart to be vulnerable to hackers. Using only Short Message Service (SMS) communications, a pair of security researchers were able to force low-end phones to shut down abruptly and knock them off a cellular network. The trick works for handsets made by Nokia, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Micromax, a popular Indian cell-phone manufacturer."

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108 comments

Ahhhhhhhhh (2, Funny)

Jimpqfly (790794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791250)

Peace, at last !
No more stupid ring tones, no more boss (or wife) calls...
GREAT !

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791436)

You realize there is a "Power" button on your phone?

By pushing that for 3 seconds, the phone physically powers off, thereby creating the same effect.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (4, Insightful)

Jimpqfly (790794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791562)

You have the button, but this is better : you have the EXCUSE

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792106)

Spoken like a true SubGenius (sort of).

If your pink conspiracy corporate overlord requires you to carry a cell phone, then you should still turn the phone off and MAKE THE EXCUSE that someone blasted your phone off the network.

You didn't pay your $30 and get your divine excuse for nothing, after all (only "Bob" can get something for nothing).

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792854)

The subgenius can have all my slack they can carry. There are not enough subgenius in all of history to impact my slack.

You Bob-hugging lads need to remember that it is all a matter of perspective. Perspective does not cost $30. Someone is stealing from YOU!

Hail Eris! All hail Discordia!

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793952)

Taunting the Bob-huggers is uncool. All sects of Discordia are the One True Discordia, especially those that explicitly contradict one another.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34794756)

Are you cabbages still believing what you read? Have you learned NOTHING?!

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34794834)

The subgenius can have all my slack they can carry. There are not enough subgenius in all of history to impact my slack.

You Bob-hugging lads need to remember that it is all a matter of perspective. Perspective does not cost $30. Someone is stealing from YOU!

Hail Eris! All hail Discordia!

"Bob" did say, "You'll pay to know what you really think". You have to look at something when bending over. I, personally, like looking at a face with a pipe sticking out of it. A golden apple may do it for you. I'm not Malaclypse the Elder, nor I am Hagbard Celine, but YMMV.

Aum Shiva.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796148)

You have the button, but this is better : you have the EXCUSE

My iPhone behaves that way without touching a button or getting a message. Well, I do have to actually power it off myself, but otherwise the effect is identical. Apps just close, the internet just drops, calls end on their own, all with a full signal!

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791992)

But how are you going to play FarmVille & FrontierVille with the phone off?

Disclaimer: I've farmed in real life, and I really couldn't be bothered with doing it in a game.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34794098)

Disclaimer: I've farmed in real life, and I really couldn't be bothered with doing it in a game.

Farm games are old now, and I'm still shocked whenever I see one. I would never have believed that "virtual farming" would catch on! To me, that's right up there with "virtual watching paint dry" and "virtual watching grass grow". Actually, for some crops it is "virtual watching grass grow". I have to admint, I no longer understand today's youth. Kids, lawn, etc.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792260)

"Why didn't you answer my call. Where were were you. What were you doing? What are you up to?, Soooo.... I'm going to need you to work Saturday".

vs

"Aww honey, I tried to call my my phone was acting up. Could you take a look at it."

"You're lucky my phone was acting up. I almost called you in for a double shift. I was able to catch Smith before he left."

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791490)

No surprise there - I did already do that back in '02 on a Nokia. I had to move the SIM card to a SonyEricsson phone to delete the offending SMS.

So it's possible, but the message may have to be specific for the phone/model.

Whole article, without the annoyances. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791610)

Fuck that site! They try and show you adverts before the article, then it is spread over multiple pages. I don't give a shit about how they are trying to make money, if you do it in annoying ways, people will work around it. So here is TFA. There was a link to a print version, but fuck knows if that will try and interrupt with more fucking adverts.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
"SMS of Death" Could Crash Many Mobile Phones

Phones don't have to be smart to be vulnerable.

By Erica Naone

The phones in many people's pockets today are miniature personal computers, and they are just as vulnerable as PCs to viruses, malware, and other security problems. But research presented at a conference in Germany last week shows that phones don't even have to be smart to be vulnerable to hackers.

Using only Short Message Service (SMS) communications--messages that can be sent between mobile phones--a pair of security researchers were able to force low-end phones to shut down abruptly and knock them off a cellular network. As well as text messages, the SMS protocol can be used to transmit small programs, called "binaries," that run on a phone. Network operators use these files to, for example, change the settings on a device remotely. The researchers used the same approach to attack phones. They performed their tricks on handsets made by Nokia, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Micromax, a popular Indian cell-phone manufacturer.

A number of largely theoretical attacks aimed at iPhones and Android devices have made headlines over the past few years. But smart phones make up only 16 percent of the devices in use. So-called feature phones--which can do more than make calls but run only software with limited functionality, enabling their users to do such things as send text messages and play games--account for the majority of around 5 billion mobile phones in use worldwide.

Feature phones are harder to attack than smart phones because of their limitations. Their processors are less powerful, and they have less memory capacity, so they must run simpler software, which often cannot be loaded unless the carrier gives permission. Feature phones also have more varied hardware and software idiosyncrasies than smart phones do.

The security researchers who presented their work at last week's conference, Collin Mulliner, a PhD student in the Security in Telecommunications department at the Technische Universitaet Berlin, and Nico Golde, an undergraduate student at the same institution, decided to attack feature phones over the air. They set up a miniature cellular network, using open-source software to create a base station with which to communicate with the phones. In order to broadcast malicious messages to them without putting other devices at risk, they shielded their communications by enclosing their network in a Faraday cage, which blocks radio signals.

Having a private cell network also helped Mulliner and Golde study the software running on low-end phones. By monitoring the way the phones communicated with their base station, they could discern important information about how the phones worked and how SMS messages could affect them.

The researchers were able to create malicious SMS messages for each type of phone they studied. The messages affect the phones without any response from the user. Because feature phones are so common, Mulliner says, such an attack "could take out a large percentage of mobile communications."

To target a specific user, an attacker would need to know what kind of phone he or she uses, since each platform requires a different message. But Mulliner says that attackers could easily knock out large numbers of phones by sending a set of five SMS messages--targeted to the five most popular models--to every device on a specific network. Mulliner notes that there are Internet-based services that send SMS messages en masse either cheaply or free, making it possible for an antagonist with limited resources to carry out such an attack from anywhere in the world.

"The only people who can defend against this attack are the network operators," Mulliner says. To prevent problems, operators would have to update the firmware on existing phones or else filter out potentially disruptive SMS messages traveling across their networks. The latter approach would be difficult, he says, because filtering software, generally used to catch spam, is not optimized to catch binaries.

Mulliner and Golde say they contacted network operators and manufacturers months before their talk but were told it wasn't possible to get fixes ready in time.

"Smart phones are sexier targets, but the masses still by and large use feature phones," says Charlie Miller, principal analyst for software security for the research firm Independent Security Evaluators. Miller is well known for his research on security flaws in the iPhone and other mobile devices, and has worked with Mulliner in the past.

Because feature phones are so widespread, the problems found by Mulliner and Golde could affect a lot of people, Miller says. Still, attackers would find it difficult to steal personal information or take control of the phones. In contrast, SMS vulnerabilities in iPhones and Windows Mobile-based HTC devices enable an attacker to take over phones, Miller says, citing research that he and Mulliner conducted a couple of years ago.

Defending against mass attacks on feature phones may in practice prove enormously difficult. Aurélien Francillon, a researcher in the system security group at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, says, "Most of those phones don't have automated updates, and when they do, patches are not made available quickly."

High-end smart phones are more likely to be configured to automatically install updates to protect against attacks, he says. Francillon believes that the vulnerabilities that Mulliner found on feature phones "may remain open for a very long time before they are corrected on end users' phones--if ever."

Re:Whole article, without the annoyances. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791686)

Dude it's 2011 and you're still using IE?

Re:Whole article, without the annoyances. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792116)

Buddy, the last time I chose to use IE was on Windows 3, probably IE3.

There were dark days when Netscape 4 couldn't cut it, before Mozilla appeared, when IE was one of the only alternatives, but to be honest I persevered with Netscape and only used IE when sites crashed Netscape. By then though, I was using an advert and junk blocking proxy, so much of what could upset Netscape didn't get through. There was no stopping the effect nested tables had on NN though, nor the fact it would hold the CPU at 100% whilst pages loaded.

Anyway, what is the insinuation about IE? Are you implying that I don't use FF or Seamonkey and so do not have NoScript and Adblock? Or that other add-on that stitches together pages when articles are spread out? I do use FF with NS and AB, so I was presented with a blank grey page between clicking the link for TFA and getting to TFA. TFA had no adverts surrounding it, but that is not the point. The experience presented to me was fucking annoying, and it must only be worse if the adverts are there! I don't use that other add-on to stitch pages together, as I do not want to start down the path of having add-ons for every shortcoming on the web. I feel directly penalising those who create the shortcomings is better.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

HipToday (883113) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791836)

If I could, I'd mod this redundant. Where I come from boss == wife.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792304)

Dude... I'd totally marry my boss, she's hot and completely awesome. Some loser beat me to it though...

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34794040)

I'm not a loser; I am 1337!

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792452)

Peace, at last !

No more stupid ring tones, no more boss (or wife) calls...

GREAT !

Hello quiet my old friend.
Within the SMS of silence.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhh (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792896)

Hello quiet my old friend. Within the SMS of silence.

I've noted that pop-culture references to more than 40 years ago do not do well here on the slashdots. (Modulo Star Trek, of course.)

This SMS will crash an iPhone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791284)

God hates fags

Just to make sure I don't get my Friday off on the wrong foot. Even though I'm not a fag I don't hate them and doubt that God does. I just think its funny.

Happy Friday!!

So ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791288)

... how do I address this 'SMS of death' message to all the phones in my immediate vicinity?

Re:So ... (3, Funny)

kenrblan (1388237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791396)

You might need to define vicinity. One option is to send the programmatically SMS of death to every possible combination of mobile phone numbers within you area code. That might hit a few that have roamed outside your area, but would largely accomplish your task.

Re:So ... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791448)

Might be a bit expensive though.

Re:So ... (2)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792296)

Google voice? (they warn that abuse will get sms privileges taken down) but after that happens, there's always AT&T... maybe start with them... their webpage allows sending of sms for free.

Re:So ... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793192)

there's always AT&T... maybe start with them... their webpage allows sending of sms for free.

...and there you go. (SMSes of death * shellscript) / unsecured wifi = weapon of mass pwnage.

Re:So ... (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791458)

Why limit yourself to your area code? Especially if you live near a college, there's going to be multiple area codes all in one space. The only solution is to wardial the SMS from (000)000-0000 to (999)999-9999 and repeat. Skipping some whitelist of numbers, of course.

Re:So ... (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791598)

And if you're in the UK, you'd be stuck too, since all mobile numbers start 07, and have nothing to do with your local area code which only apply to landlines.

Re:So ... (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792686)

At least you know you'd only be addressing mobile phones (you'd need to be a bit more careful than just 07, but the ranges are on the Wikipedia article for UK numbers).

SMSing the 10,000,000 numbers in a US area code region is going to hit a lot of landlines.

Re:So ... (1)

lavacano201014 (999580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793234)

(000)000-0000 isn't a valid number. The lowest number the area code can be is 201 (first digit [2-9], rest [0-9]). However, the area code can't end in 11, to avoid confusion with 911 and similar numbers.

Also, 555-0100 through 555-0199 are reserved for use in fiction (though other 555 numbers are valid).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Numbering_Plan#Current_system [wikipedia.org]

Re:So ... (1)

lavacano201014 (999580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793270)

Oh, additionally, the second group of three digits (the 555 in a 555-XXXX number) can't be 0 anything or 1 anything, so the phone doesn't get confused and try to do an operator assisted or long distance call.

Re:So ... (2)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793680)

In North America, phone numbers are always in the form NXX-NXX-XXXX, with N being a digit from 2-9 and X being a digit from 0-9.
Instead of 10,000,000,000 permutations, you only have 6,400,000,000
It is called NANPA [nanpa.com] and there are a few other reserved numbers mixed in (for example, in an NXX group, both Xs can not be 1 to avoid confusion with N11 services such as 911).
Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] also has a good article about this.

Re:So ... (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792778)

You might need to define vicinity. One option is to send the programmatically SMS of death to every possible combination of mobile phone numbers within you area code. That might hit a few that have roamed outside your area, but would largely accomplish your task.

Nah, that would never work where I live. University town, nobody bothers to get a new phone number when they move across the country these days. I think we better hit all the mobile numbers, just to be sure. Make sure you sign up for unlimited messaging first, though.

Re:So ... (0)

mikael (484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791666)

They set up their own base station using free software. That gives them access to the phone numbers. Then it would just be a matter of sending the SMS messages Even a standard wireless modem would allow a regular PC to send SMS messages via AT commands for GSM/CDMA wireless modems. Some phones support "long messages" which are just short messages chained together by software. There is a maximum of 160 characters with Latin alphabets and 70 characters with Chinese or Arabic alphabets (unicode?). That seems to be what they are doing here - there seems to be all sorts of opportunity for creating chaos by combining these two features.

Re:So ... (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792780)

... how do I address this 'SMS of death' message to all the phones in my immediate vicinity?

Use a cell broadcast [wikipedia.org]!

Re:So ... (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34794866)

So set up a fake cell-tower thats configured to get all nearby phones onto it, and then blast them with an SMS Of Death ...

Me likes...

Destroy the world's communications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791328)

Lets crash all the world's mobile phones just because we know how to now.

Desired future news: (5, Insightful)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791332)

Sending the "SMS of Death" has become common practice at theaters in order to finally force people's cell phones to stop ringing.

Re:Desired future news: (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791460)

I thought that was just jamming, and I also saw someone else saying they had to stop doing that to allow emergency calls from movie theaters?

Re:Desired future news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791538)

"Desired Future News"

They do not use this practice in actual theaters, but the parent wanted it for that purpose.

Re:Desired future news: (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792352)

Ah, the good old "put half of my post in the title, even though a lot of people skim past the titles since they're usually full of Re:re:re:re:re:". Oops.

Re:Desired future news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791564)

whooooooooosh

Awww (1)

pythonboy (1627121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791438)

So this SMS of death, won't cause the handset to beat the user to death with his/her own shoes ? How bitterly dissapointing.

Reminds me of punters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791446)

Ah the good ole days of AOL...

While it might be possible, whats the incentive? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791456)

Sure, you might get a few hackers who do it for curiousity to a few numbers with a few types of phones, but eventually they'll get bored and move on to something else. Unless its easy to create binaries that can do something useful to a crim and its easy to send these binaries to ALL types of phones fast then criminal hacker types are unlikely to get involved since its far easier to earn money screwing around with PCs.

Re:While it might be possible, whats the incentive (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793744)

If the telcos really can't stop this you could make some good dough holding their network for ransom. They wire you some cash (not too much, it has to be much cheaper for them to pay, stay in the 5-digit range) or you bring all their phones down. During the ransom call (make sure you've got the guy on a wired phone) you demonstrate your attack on everyone in the office (not using the same source as the actual attack of course, probably best to use an untraceable prepaid or stolen SIM with a USB GSM adapter on a laptop (in a different location controlled via a wifi connection, NOT in your lap as you make the ransom call, which should be from a pay phone, and be sure to power down the GSM modem and destroy it after the attack) for your demonstration attack, and ideally you should avoid using the same exploit code that would be used in the real attack, in case they're able to do something to block the attacks fast enough).

Although in reality I don't see why it would be so hard to block all SMS messages containing binary executable data that doesn't come from an approved source, unless the packets are all so nondescript that they can't tell one of these messages from a piece of an MMS or something.

Re:While it might be possible, whats the incentive (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34795310)

Have you seen how teenagers text lately. I'd almost have a hard time figuring out if a legitimate text was binary or not...

VoD of the Talk (5, Informative)

radl (1266970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791488)

Re:VoD of the Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34794412)

You can watch the talk

Phew, for a second I thought this was some new corporate buzzwordspeak.

No surprises (3, Funny)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791524)

I had a cheap Virgin Mobile, and if you looked at it funny it would crash.

Re:No surprises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791762)

there was a period during a rebranding of the company where Virgin implemented this feature so as to avoid there phones being used by funny looking customers.

Re:No surprises (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792100)

I had a cheap virginmobile too at one point. It was a rusted out deathtrap of a ford escort that was given to me for free by my older brother. The passenger door was held shut by a bungee cord, the drivers seat bolts were rusted out making it unattached, it vented thick smoky exhaust directly into the cabin through a gaping hole in the dashboard.

Re:No surprises (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792726)

You should have seen the LG I had five or six years ago. Crash? It would do all sorts of crazy things, like the screen going backwards, upside down, display garbage.

I sent it back under warrantee, and the one they replaced it with was even worse.

So no more LG tech for me, they obviously have some horrible quality control.

How permanent is it? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791626)

Article didn't really make it clear. Does it render the phone useless enough to require a replacement, or can service be restored? If the former, it strikes me that a company could surreptitiously use this to try to force a customer into renewing their contract with a new phone?

Re:How permanent is it? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792534)

Article didn't really make it clear. Does it render the phone useless enough to require a replacement, or can service be restored? If the former, it strikes me that a company could surreptitiously use this to try to force a customer into renewing their contract with a new phone?

A power cycle usually fixes it.

However, sometimes the SMS that killed the phone would crash it before the SMS could be acknowledged, so right after re-registering on the same network, the phone would get the SMS again and crash. Using a non-vulnerable phone to retrieve the problematic SMS fixes it. Or you can just live without a cellphone for a few days untilt he SMS times out.

Re:How permanent is it? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793556)

However, sometimes the SMS that killed the phone would crash it before the SMS could be acknowledged, so right after re-registering on the same network, the phone would get the SMS again and crash. Using a non-vulnerable phone to retrieve the problematic SMS fixes it. Or you can just live without a cellphone for a few days untilt he SMS times out.

Or pack the phone in hat liner, turn it on, turn off automatic SMS acceptance, restore service, and say "no" to the next SMS.

Executable SMS? (1)

jonescb (1888008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792062)

The article is really light on details, but what about these messages cause a phone to crash? Is the phone executing what is supposed to be textual data? Is this certain data just causing a buffer overflow somewhere? What is actually happening?

Re:Executable SMS? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792338)

They are executing binary data. User messages are supposed to be text, but the carriers also use the SMS infrastructure for other things.

Re:Executable SMS? (2)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793378)

For specific purposes carriers may provision SMSC (short message service centers) and GMSC (gateway message service centers) to send binary data to interact with applications on the mobiles.

In practice, this is very rare because the carriers have known for a long time that binary payloads may be susceptible to misuse for malicious reasons. Thus, very few originators of short messages are permitted to send binary payloads (or at least when I was doing this a few years ago, maybe now it's different).

This is probably now much of an issue because it's really quite difficult to get binary sms provisioning from carriers (AT&T, TMO, etc.) because you need to have a contract with special stipulations about what the originating messages will be used for. These are looked at closely by carriers.

Executable SMS==MMS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34793644)

In practice, this is very rare because the carriers have known for a long time that binary payloads may be susceptible to misuse for malicious reasons. Thus, very few originators of short messages are permitted to send binary payloads (or at least when I was doing this a few years ago, maybe now it's different).

MMS

Re:Executable SMS==MMS. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793890)

I don't think so. When I read the specs in 2007 binary SMS was not the same as the MMS standard.

Re:Executable SMS? (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34794806)

It depends how smart your network provider is. Certainly in the UK, when I was an engineering student people were mucking around with this and all networks would pass on binaries without regards to the source.

Who's laughing now! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792122)

And people scoff at my 14 year old Qualcomm QCP-1900 [streettech.com]. I'd send them all an SMS of Death, if my phone could send text messages... (sigh) Still. Try defending yourself from a mugger with a Droid or iPhone - hah!

Re:Who's laughing now! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792934)

But I can see that the phone supports text messages right from the page you linked to... ?

Re:Who's laughing now! (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793542)

Maybe the GP's phone plan doesn't include text messages.

Re:Who's laughing now! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793942)

The phone can receive text-messages, but only from the provider -- for things like usage alerts. I originally got it from PrimeCo, now nTelos in my area. The phone was $200 in 1998 and my plan is $15/month (w/taxes) -- no minutes, but I only use it occasionally/for emergencies -- still, it has 6 hours of talk and 2 weeks of standby.

Someday I may get a current phone, when I have more people to call :-(

Re:Who's laughing now! (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796350)

You could fo to a real low end phone like tracfone. It works out to about $6 a month for a small number of minutes. Of course, you would have to put a brick in your pocket to get the same amount of exercise as lugging around one of the older phones.

Feh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792254)

That's not an SMS of death....merely an SMS of irritation.

An SMS of death would involve the recipient's head exploding. Literally.

A signal that could cause the Li-ion batteries to forcibly discharge at once might qualify, as well, but I wouldn't want to make that call. (pun intended)

twice ridiculous (4, Informative)

toolz (2119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793160)

1.This post (and the linked-to article) make a great effort to hide the name of the "conference in Germany". $deity knows why, but the conference was the 27th Chaos Communication Congress (27C3) [events.ccc.de], organised by the Chaos Computer Club [ccc.de].

2.The "SMS of death" was not new in any way - it was well known and discussed back in 2008 at the 25C3. What the researchers effectively showed was that the manufacturers and the GSM networks had *still* not fixed the problem, even years later!

Who needs hackers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34793666)

Motorola is WAY ahead of these guys. My Motorola CLIQ with "Blur" already shuts itself off randomly and for no evident reason. Who needs a hacker to remotely shut off your phone against your will when the feature is already built-in? :)

Big Deal (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793852)

I used to be able to send an instant message over AOL that would cause the other user's CD-ROM drive to open. It was hilarious while it lasted. There were similar exploits that would boot them off the service.

Would email do the trick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34793910)

My carrier gives you an email alias through which you can send a text message to the phone. Could you just crank out emails to every number on every carrier that does this?

Ah, memories... so like the Ping Of Death (1)

imgunby (705676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793996)

Even the names of the old tools, Teardrop and Boink, would be suitable... good times

And this is a bad thing? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34794202)

It might be highly amusing to expose people for the technocrack addicts that they are. Oh my god! My phone won't work, what ever shall I do?!? Let me just curl up into a ball under this park bench until its working again.
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