A report by the Shanghai Daily earlier this week pointed to a “zombie” mobile phone virus that – as of the first week of September – had infected over 1 million handsets.
The virus is spread through links in SMS messages, which when clicked allow the unknown hackers behind the worm to take control of the user’s SIM card, access their contacts and then send out an SMS to all of those contacts that furthers the spread of the worm. The real kicker, of course, is that the users have to still pay for the SMS charges, and it’s really adding up – a whopping $300,000 a day overall.
Apparently, ten other similar viruses have been found by Chinese authorities, but the report is unclear about whether the particular virus has been contained at all, or what the total number of infected phones may be now (i.e. two months after that 1 million number was passed). Of course, China has over 800 million mobile phone users, so the damage if unchecked, could be enormous.
We’ll keep an eye on this story for any updates.