Talk of receiving an “SMS of death” has a number of people worrying about their cell phones’ susceptibility to viruses. Surprisingly, this supposed deadly text message is rather different than one would imagine.
How can this affect me?
As opposed to most viruses that affect cell phones, this attack focuses on “feature phones” rather than smartphones. Feature phones are more basic cell phones that have one particular feature that distinguishes them, such as an MP3 player or web browsing capabilities.
Because feature phones rather than smartphones are at risk for this virus attack, most phones employed for business purposes are out of danger. In order for the attack to be effective, the hacker needs to know the make and model of the phone, otherwise the text would simply be read as nonsense.
Possible indicators of an attack include:
- The phone can shut down without warning
- Some phones may then be rendered useless and the SIM card must be placed in another phone to be functional
Luckily, due to the nature of the ”SMS of death” hack, it will be extremely difficult for hackers to insert their own code into the phone and steal any data. Those kinds of attacks are typically reserved for more high-tech smartphones.
How can I protect myself?
These SMS attacks are preventable simply by updating security software, something that most people with basic feature phones don’t do. Updates usually need to be purchased since most feature phones don’t come with USB cables to update security software.
For more information on this “SMS of death” and how to keep your phone safe, check out this IT World article.