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Google Nexus phones are vulnerable to attack via Flash SMS messages

4/12/2013 by


IDG News Service - Attackers could force phones from Google’s Nexus line to reboot or fail to connect to the mobile Internet service by sending a large number of special SMS messages to them.

The issue was discovered by Bogdan Alecu, a system administrator at Dutch IT services company Levi9, and affects all Android 4.x firmware versions on Google Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. Alecu will present the vul

Class 0 SMS, or Flash SMS, is a type of message defined in the GSM specification that gets displayed directly on the phone’s screen and doesn’t automatically get stored on the device. After reading such a message, users have the option to save it or dismiss it.nerability Friday at the DefCamp security conference in Bucharest, Romania.

On Google Nexus phones, when such a message is received, it gets displayed on top of all active windows and is surrounded by a semi-transparent black overlay that has a dimming effect on the rest of the screen. If the message is not saved or dismissed and a second message is received it gets placed on top of the first one and the dimming effect increases.

When such messages are received, there is no audio notification, even if one is configured for regular incoming SMS messages. This means that users receiving Flash messages won’t know about them until they look at the phone.

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