In the beginning of this week, the world of software security has been greeted by the sad news regarding the issue of mobile smartphone malware attacks.
It was revealed that a trick worm is spreading over jailbroken’ iPhones in Australia. Additionally, at the end of last month, a proof-of-concept (PoC) application was issued that allows a hacker to distantly activate a BlackBerry microphone and listen in on surrounding conversations and sounds. There haven’t been such widespread and active attacks on mobile devices for a long while, but now, it is expected that they are going to grow rapidly.
In return to the rising danger of smartphone malware, researchers at Georgia Tech are planning to study mobile device security and finally plan to discover a method to distantly fix affected devices. They have gotten a $450,000 NSF grant to improve security of iPhones, BlackBerries and other smartphones and the wireless networks on which they are running. The researchers are focusing on the ways wireless service providers such as AT&T and Verizon can detect malware on devices and clean up the devices before they do more harm.
The Georgia Tech’s researchers are looking back on those events with mobile devices in that they indicate that malware creators have mainly forgot about cellphones that were specialty devices. However, attackers have already got their sight on smartphones based on more general computer operating systems. The researchers say that a big problem is that, smartphones usually aren’t implemented with antivirus software and other such computer security programs.
According to Jonathon Giffin, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science, researchers are going to create a cellular network test bed on campus to try out its remote repair methods. They would enable service providers to clean malicious code off on a vulnerable device with little or no relationship with the end user. The remote repair technique might be the same as remote wipe technologies that are used currently to clear all the data off a mobile device that has gone missing. Such methods might require disable some of the phone’s functionality temporarily, like the ability to download apps.
For all the reasons mentioned above, the researchers have taken the carriers for their target in a striving to break down on mobile device security. Patrick Traynor, assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science has talked to a lot of major carriers about the project and said that there is a sense of excitement all around. He added that they need to elaborate solutions today so they are ready when these widespread attacks appear. The researcher concluded that one of the signs of their design is to use the network itself to discover attacks.