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
12/14/2011 7:15:27 PM
Guy at work got me once on our old HP/UX RTEa system. He found a way to log people off the mainframe and then put it into a looping macro. I was sitting there logging on over and over wondering why it kept booting me off. I remember asking the lab manager if there was a way to get more control over the system than being a SuperUser so I could get him back lol.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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
Apple Won't Let UK Sons Unlock Their Deceased Mother's iPad
March 6, 2014, 12:44 PM
Benchmarks for NVIDIA Tegra K1 Hit the web
March 6, 2014, 8:57 AM
Microsoft's Gates, Nadella, Bates Initially Opposed Nokia Acquisition; Said Microsoft Should Stick with Software
March 5, 2014, 1:33 PM
94% of Old BlackBerry Trade-ins at T-Mobile Favor Other Brands During Special Promotion
March 5, 2014, 12:12 PM
Xbox One March Update Roll Out Begins Today
March 5, 2014, 9:36 AM
Quick Note: Roku Unveils HDMI-based Streaming Stick, Takes on Chromecast
March 5, 2014, 9:22 AM
Most Popular Articles
Mt. Gox Bitcoin CEO Can't Stifle Grin as he Bows in Apology for Bankruptcy
February 28, 2014, 5:00 PM
Report: Microsoft Considering Offering Free “Windows 8.1 with Bing”
February 28, 2014, 10:21 AM
Facebook Kills Popular Messenger App for PCs
March 1, 2014, 4:01 PM
Two More Microsoft Executives Leaving the Company
March 3, 2014, 4:38 PM
USAF Moves Forward With Long Range Bomber Program Despite Budget Crunch
March 4, 2014, 9:44 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information