Your iPhone Could Kill Cellphone Towers, Steal Your Identity (July 30, 2009) — If you’re not careful about screening SMS of your iPhone it can steal your personal details. And if you’re careless enough to jailbreak the thing, it can kill cell-phone masts.

Kill-CellphoneA carefully crafted viral SMS burst could dial numbers, switch on the camera or microphone to spy on what you’re up to, grab your personal data and forward it to a criminal, and, of course, send similar SMSs on to contacts in your phone book to spread the virus.

Charlie Miller and Colin Mulliner, the two cybersecurity experts revealed a gaping security flaw in the iPhone’s handling of SMSs at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference yesterday. They discovered the vulnerability, apparently alerted Apple to the problem weeks ago.

It’s a simple hole through which a malicious SMS–which may appear as benign as a single random character, from a user’s point of view–can access pretty much any function within the iPhone OS.

According to Apple, a malicious coder could tweak this code and thus have a “catastrophic” impact on the cell-phone network. Similarly a malicious coder could access the device ID segments of the hard-coded software and mask the telephone number from being revealed to the cell-phone grid.

In summary, iPhone may not be as benign a product. If you start getting weird SMS messages today, then it’s probably a good idea to switch that baby off ASAP.

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