Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RIM security chief sees smartphone attacks on horizon

reuters.com

TORONTO/BOSTON (Reuters) - Hackers could one day turn ordinary smartphones into "rogue" devices to attack major wireless networks, Research In Motion's security chief warned.

Scott Totzke, RIM's vice-president of BlackBerry security, said hackers could use smartphones to target wireless carriers using a technique similar to one used in assaults that slowed Internet traffic in the United States and South Korea in July.

In what's known as a distributed denial of service, or a DDOS attack, criminals use phone signals to order tens of thousands computers to contact a targeted site repeatedly, slowing it or eventually crashing it.

"I think that's an area of concern," Totzke said in an interview this week at the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

Totzke said a technique involving data packets might be used to bring down a wireless network, though hackers might accomplish that using a relatively small number of smartphones.

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