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8000 iPhone and Android devices hacked to form a botnet

It was only a matter of time. First, jailbroken iPhones were humorously Rickrolled by a worm, and now both iPhones and Android phones have been exploited to form a botnet that is over 9,000 devices strong!

Fortunately, like the Rickroll, the botnet was a benign experiment by two researchers at TippingPoint Digital Vaccine Labs; a proof of concept, just to see how easy it would be. No one was harmed in the process, and the jailbroken devices were ultimately left unscathed. Those that downloaded the app -- WeatherFist (seriously, that's one awful name) -- probably don't even know that they were exploited!

Considering that the proposed botnet relied on jailbroken devices and unmoderated app stores, the security community has been left wondering why the two researchers at TippingPoint created it. After all, if you're not going to exploit something in a strange and peculiar way, why bother to exploit it at all? You don't hack a device purely because you can.

It's quite clear, however, that you should exercise care when downloading content from third-party app stores onto your jailbroken devices. If a malicious botnet does emerge, a) you might rack up a large data transfer bill, and b) most people store sensitive information on their phones!

[via Sophos' Graham Cluely]

Tags: android, botnet, iphone, jailbroken, malware, security