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Mobile Botnets Show Their Destructive Potential


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Denial-of-services (DoS) attacks are a common tactic used by "black hats" intent on bringing down a high-profile Web site. But what if these hackers now have cellphone networks in their sights?

In a standard DoS attack, a network of infected PCs, a "botnet", would swamp a server with so many requests to view a Web page that it would be unable to handle legitimate requests. Now Patrick Traynor of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and colleagues have shown how a cellphone network could be the vehicle for an attack that would cut off calls for millions of users.

Traynor found that a botnet of fewer than 12,000 infected cellphones could disrupt 93 percent of traffic — voice calls and SMS messages — to a hypothetical Home Location Register of one million subscribers. In a real-life attack the owners of infected handsets would be unaware that their phone was part of a botnot.

From New Scientist
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