Windows Phone Becomes Latest Microsoft OS to Suffer From "Nuking"
December 13, 2011 1:14 PM
comment(s) - last by
Hackers can reset your phone via SMS, Facebook, or Windows Live Messenger communications
Some of you may have fond memories of "nuking" local Windows 95 machines using urgent pointer (URG) based TCP "winnuke" tools (e.g. "NukeIt") or Windows 98 machines via large fragmented IGMP packets with malformed headers. Now Microsoft's Windows Phone has become the latest in a long line of Microsoft Corp. (
) operating systems to be "hosed" by malicious traffic.
The flaw in Windows Phone, which affects the
latest build of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
, as well as previous versions, was first discovered by Windows Phone hacker
. Rather than following in the tradition of hackers of yore, he worked with the site
to report the bug and securely disclose it to Microsoft.
The flaw appears to affect all Windows Phones, regardless of the manufacturer or model.
The attack works by sending a message to the Windows Phone message hub application. As this app accepts a variety of messages, the attacking message can be in the form of a SMS text message, a Facebook message, or a Windows Live Messenger hub.
When the message is received, errors in the handling in the hub cause the message to lock the device, killing whatever work you had in process. You can recover via a reboot.
However, your message hub app will stay dead. It is unclear if there is a fix for restoring messaging functionality, but barring a reformat of your device, the affected phone may be unable to message. Worse yet, if you have a live tile from the contact that sent the message, once it updates post-reboot it will trigger another system lock-up. There is a workaround for this -- quickly navigate to the homescreen and remove/unpin the tile before it "flips" (updates).
Here's a video, courtesy of
of the attack in action:
For now, as mentioned, this severe vulnerability's implementation details are under wraps, pending a fix, so Windows Phone users should only be mildly concerned.
Again, this vulnerability appears to be solely capable of denial of service, and does not affect your system security. In that regard it appears to be very similar to the aforementioned "winnuke" attacks, or the more recent "
" messaging attack demoed against Android and iOS by researchers Collin Mulliner, a PhD student in the
Security in Telecommunications
department at the
Technische Universitaet Berlin
, an undergraduate student at the same institution.
These attacks differ from security-breach attacks, like the
SMS attack that affected older unpatched version of iOS
, first discovered by Charlie Miller. The key difference is that those kinds of attacks utilize flaws in messaging apps which allow the execution of arbitrary code as a path to root control; where as attacks like the one in this article exploit flaws in message handling which do not execute arbitrary code, but do trigger some sort of catastrophic system failure.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/13/2011 6:12:57 PM
The days when your status was based on Upload/Download ratios.
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" Now Rolling Out to Customers
September 27, 2011, 9:40 PM
Apple's iPhone Executes SMS Binary Code as Root, Fix Won't Come Until End of Month
July 2, 2009, 3:38 PM
HP Adds $99 Windows Tablet, $199 Windows Notebook to Stream Family
September 29, 2014, 7:17 PM
Following Quirky Passport, BlackBerry Aims to Release One Unconventional Device Per Year
September 29, 2014, 6:45 PM
New Optical Cloak is so Beautifully Simple You Can Build Them at Home
September 29, 2014, 5:10 PM
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Owners Report Gaps Between Screen, Body
September 29, 2014, 3:40 PM
GoPro Introduces Three New "Hero" Cameras
September 29, 2014, 10:08 AM
LG Prepares Yet Another Smartwatch, Readies Call-capable Model for Sprint/Verizon
September 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
Most Popular Articles
iBend: Reports Grow of Razor-Thin iPhone 6+ Folding Like Origami in Your Pocket
September 23, 2014, 6:08 PM
Appalling Negligence: Decade-Old Windows XPe Holes Led to Home Depot Hack
September 8, 2014, 8:58 PM
iPhone 6's "Focus Pixels" Are Already Used in Galaxy S5
September 23, 2014, 3:10 PM
New AT&T Mobile Share Value "Double Data" Promotion Lasts Through October
September 28, 2014, 8:32 AM
Update: Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 Update to Make Up for Botched 8.0.1 Release
September 25, 2014, 8:19 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information