Hackers who have compromised SmartTVs, Chromecast devices and thousands of vulnerable printers to promote PewDewPie Youtube channel, now back to form and exploits the SMS gateways to send a text to millions of Peoples in the U.S.
Hackers with the name of @j3ws3r, @0xGiraffe in Twitter, taking advantage of the vulnerability that resides in the SMS gateways that are used by businesses to send mass text messages to users.
Hackers said that paid SMS services provide email gateways are extremely vulnerable, and a simple PHP command can send an SMS message to any number used by major mobile phone networks.
How did they Exploit SMS gateways
Initially, Hacktivist @j3ws3r separates a U.S phone number from 32GB list of 7.2 billion potential phone numbers by writing a script that would help to isolate the U.S phone numbers by applying pre-existing US area codes.
Later they were used the filtered list to send an email to every U.S number that they have generated via mailx, a Unix command, through SMS gateways.
Hackers specifically target the 26 different email addresses, which are act as a gateway for major U.S ISP networks.
According to Hacktivist @j3ws3r who have shared details in private conversation to Wired, “From my private research a malicious person could easily screw up lots of phones, Malicious actors could use this to phish or get people to click on links they shouldn’t,”
He also shared the Screenshot of the text message that posed as it comes from nsa.gov domain email address that is completely spoofed addresses to trick users to click on a link associated with it.
This kind of vulnerabilities in SMS gateways let attackers perform phishing on the victims that tricks to steal the personal data and the attacker also can infect the device with malware and spy on the user’s device activities.
“@j3ws3r says phones on AT&T, the United States’ largest mobile phone network, wouldn’t be able to block mass spoofed messages. “Instead of receiving one text from the spoofed email, for some reason AT&T randomises it,” he says. “If I sent 1,000 messages to an AT&T phone using their gateway you’ll get 1,000 separate messages that you can’t block since they aren’t from one sender.”
Hacktivist sent the messages to only very few to the targeted numbers Because of the large scale of the phone numbers they’re trying to target, their script is likely to take some time to run and it is clearly showing the failing blocked by network operators.