More than 1 million cell phones in China have been struck by the “Zombie” virus, according to Chinese state media, CCTV and Xinhua.
It’s called the “Zombie” virus because it transmits from phone to phone, just as in the movies, zombie bites turn people into the living dead.
The virus binds with a security application, which then transmits the user’s SIM card details to a central server controlled by a small group of hackers.
The hackers then will send messages or make phone calls that contain virus-ridden links for games and software, said CCTV.
Receivers who follow the link will find their phones infected, too, while at the same time providing a “click through” for the link itself, which typically translates into a payment for a party publicizing the links. CCTV said that the blame is likely to lay with intermediary distributors instead of the actual game or software developers that show up in the ads.
Rob Horton, operations director at NGS Secure, part of NCC Group plc, commented on the ‘zombie’ virus that has infected one million mobile devices in China: “This couldn’t have come at a worse time for Symbian manufacturers who are already feeling the pressure to improve its platform having been dropped by a number of major vendors this year. However, this type of attack is the sign of things to come for mobile devices in general, as they become the target of choice for any worm or virus writer due to the demand for phones to have internet capabilities, enabling a virus to spread at a much greater speed.
“Phones generally lag behind more traditional platforms in terms of malware defence, and yet many offer the processing power and net connectivity suitable for sophisticated worms. Add to this the fact that most people store highly personal information on their phones – such as card PIN numbers for example – and threats such as this become even more significant.
“An attack like this isn’t limited to China, and users all over the globe should take heed and ensure that they have installed the appropriate level of security applications to help protect against attacks such as this.”