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Windows Phone Messaging Flaw Allows Attackers To Disable Features On Your Device With A Simple SMS

A flaw has been discovered within Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system that allows hackers to completely disable your device’s messaging hub using nothing more than a simple text message. Once your device receives the message, either via SMS, Facebook, or Windows Messenger, it will automatically reboot and you will be denied access to the messaging hub once it starts up again, as shown in the video above.

Once your device has become a victim of the attack, the only way to recover it is to perform a complete system wipe. According to WinRumors, which first discovered the flaw, this attack affects a whole range of Windows Phone devices, running different versions of Microsoft’s operating system:

We have tested the attack 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.

It’s not only the messaging hub that this attack disables, either. If you have a friend pinned as a live tile to your home screen and they send you a message on Facebook, then the live tile will cause the device to freeze completely. Thankfully, there is a workaround for this particular issue.

When you boot up your device, you will have a small period of time in which you can get past the lock screen and remove the live tile from your home screen before it locks up again.

Fortunately, it seems this bug isn’t a security issue, but rather a simple flaw with the way in which Windows Phone handles messaging. But even so, Windows Phone users will want Microsoft to address this issue promptly before the hack is made public and some decide it would be a good idea to prank their friends with it.

WinRumors says it is in the process of disclosing the bug to Microsoft, so look out for a software update to fix the issue soon.

Have you had problems with the messaging hub in Windows Phone?

[via WinRumors]


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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