Are Viruses Invading the iPhone and other smartphones?

Phone or Computer?

With the recent influx of smartphones and their new abilities, the cell phone is more and more like a small computer. And with that comes the annoying and potentially dangerous side of computing, viruses. This year at Blackhat (r) two men, Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner displayed a hack that will potentially bring in a new era and arena of hacking.

Ethical Hacking

Blackhat(r) is an annual conference self described as the “world’s premiere technical security conference. Essentially its a conference for ethical hackers. Hackers that break into things not to exploit or to infiltrate but to find holes that other less ethical hackers might already be exploiting and alert the company and such. The hack involves a hacker sending series of hidden SMS messages to an iPhone and without any involvement of the victim. The hacker gains have complete control over the phone. They could call out, answer calls, monitor activity and keystrokes, sending SMS messages, take pictures and even in the case of the new iPhone 3Gs; take video. Thankfully Apple released a patch for the hack, but for some people it wasn’t pushed out automatically to their iPhones, so for some people they have to go to iTunes and select check for updates.

The Future

So what does this mean for the future of smartphones? Are we going to have to run an anti-viruses on our smartphone? One reason there aren’t so many hacks or viruses on smartphones if because of the number of different operating systems. And without one dominant operating system a hacker would have to find holes in numerous systems to get a valuable reward. And even if there was a semi dominant operating system there are still a large group of users that only need and use “dumb phones”, cell phones that only have a phone capability and maybe basic SMS and web access. But with more are more people buying devices such as the iPhone to use as their portal to the web and ditching the computer, hackers might just decide to have a go at the iPhone OS or the Blackberry OS or even the more international Sybian OS (Nokia).

So what do you think? Fire away in the comments section.


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