iPhone Hacker Attacks – How To Stop It

On July 31, 2009

By now you’ve probably heard about the iPhones new vulnerability… hackers can take over your iPhone by exploiting a bug in the SMS system of the phone.  It seems that an iPhone virus could allow hackers to control your phone by simply sending you a single SMS.

A presentation at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas got the medias attention, as I’m sure you noticed everyone and their cousins writing about this new found hole.

So what does the attack look like you might ask?  How do you know if your under attack?  And how do you protect yourself?

After a little research we’ve broken it down to a few simple things…

A specific type of SMS message will allow the hacker to control the iPhone remotely, which includes the camera, safari, calendar, email, and your address book, among other things.  You don’t even have to open up the message to have the virus start up.

Since SMS is the method of delivery of the virus, you need to watch out for a specific form of text message.  That message would contain a single square character.

If you get the square character, turn off your phone immediately using the hard shutdown with both buttons for 10 seconds.

Since there has been no official word from Apple on the release of a firmware update, we can’t really comment on the necessary steps to remove the virus at that point.  Also, since it seems that an attack on the iPhone would take some time to prepare on a large level (1-2 weeks for writing the code), Apple has sufficient time to get out something to fix the hole.

Lets see how long it takes them.