Threat Description

SMS Killer


Aliases:SMS Killer


There are no known viruses using the SMS (Short Message System) under GSM cellular phones. However, several techniques of crashing a phone by sending a malformed SMS text message to it have been found over the years.


Automatic action

Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.


You may wish to refer to the Support Community for further assistance. You also may also refer to General Removal Instructions for a general guide on alternative disinfection actions.

Technical Details

None of the known methods of crashing a phone like this this work universally: they typically only affect a single GSM handset software version from one GSM vendor. As there are hundreds of different GSM handsets from several vendors with the built-in software frequently updated, it would be impossible to come up with a technique that could affect more than just a handful of existing phone models.

Thus, a risk of generic 'SMS Killer' is minimal.

Known techniques of crashing GSM handsets via SMS messages include sending a message with 160 '.' or '-' characters in a row to a recipient with an old-style GSM handset, or by sending SMS messages with a malformed User Data Header, as outlined by ITSX researcher Job de Haas.


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