A Single Text Can Destroy Windows Phone’s Messaging App

Friday, December 16, 2011 // by Saurabh Sharma // Labels: , , , , , , , //

News & Articles Microsoft’s range of Windows Phone devices suffer from a denial-of-service attack that allows attackers to disable the messaging functionality on a device.

The flaw works simply by sending an SMS to a Windows Phone user. Windows Phone 7.5 devices will reboot and the messaging hub will not open despite repeat attempts. Attack tests have been done on a range of Windows Phone devices, including HTC’s TITAN and Samsung’s Focus Flash. Some devices were running the 7740 version of Windows Phone 7.5, others were on Mango RTM build 7720. The attack is not device specific and appears to be an issue with the way the Windows Phone messaging hub handles messages. The bug is also triggered if a user sends a Facebook chat message or Windows Live Messenger message to a recipient.

The flaw appears to affect other aspects of the Windows Phone operating system too. If a user has pinned a friend as a live tile on their device and the friend posts a particular message on Facebook then the live tile will update and causes the device to lock up. Thankfully there’s a workaround for the live tile issue, at initial boot up you have a small amount of time to get past the lock screen and into the home screen to remove the pinned live tile before it flips over and locks the device.

Both Apple and Google have suffered from SMS bugs with their iOS and Android devices. Security researcher Charlie Miller discovered a flaw in the iOS 3.0 software that allowed attackers complete control over an iPhone at the time. Android-based phones also suffered in the SMS attack, but attackers could only knock a phone offline rather than gain full access. The attack described in this article does not appear to be security related. It appears, from our limited testing, that the bug is related to the way Windows Phone handles messages.

See the Video below by a Win Rumors reader:

The vid, narrated by a WinRumors reader who discovered the flaw, shows how one message will force a Mango device to reset, at which point the messaging app will no longer launch. The messaging app, being arguably the greatest and certainly one of the most used features on the phone, is not something you want deactivated. WinRumors says they're working with Microsoft to get the bug reported and patched. Phew.

  •  A Single Text Can Destroy Windows Phone’s Messaging App || Via Win Rumors

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About Saurabh Sharma
I am a 22yr Techno Freak, A Computer Science Student, An App. Developer, A Web Developer, and A Painting Artist

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