SMS Killer

Threat description


Type: Other
Platform: N/A
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.


More information on scanning and removal options available in your F-Secure product can be found in the Help Center.

You may also refer to the Knowledge Base on the F-Secure Community site for more information.

Contact Support

For further assistance, F-Secure customers can request support online via the Request support or the Chat forms on our Home - Global site.

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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