Researchers at CanSecWest gave a presentation this week on disabling various GSM phones using only SMS messaging. OpenBSC, an open source toolkit, was used to build a custom GSM network and the SMS messages were generated using it. Phones could be frozen, rebooted, locked, even completely bricked.
From one of the comments on the article:
It’s actually pretty well known –has been known for a while, too– that handsets are mostly tested against the few types of base stations Out There and, er, that’s it. Malicious input checking? Never needed; all the base stations are made by just a few manufacturers, right? Right?
Well, that’s what OpenBSC changed. Phones are still back where computers were back in the eighties. And now we can poke at them. There’s more where this came from. Far more.