“Attackers could severely disrupt America’s 911 system, a new report suggests. A botnet of 400,000 infected phones could basically disable 911 nationwide. All the infected phones would have to do is call 911, constantly, and eventually wait times would get so bad most people with legitimate emergencies would hang up rather than wait.
Emergency phone services don’t currently have a blacklist system, meaning that if a phone calls 911 constantly there’s no way for emergency services to block that caller. In a way, this makes sense: you don’t want to cut anyone off from an essential service, and people with infected phones could still need 911 for real someday. But this simple fact makes the 911 system vulnerable, which is a problem.” – The Next Web
A zombie army of phones, such a “beautiful” idea. While most people might think that viruses, or malware, only affect PCs, malicious hackers can, in fact, turn almost anything into a feasible denial of service nowadays.
It is not news to cybersecurity experts that mobile phones are now an everyday target of cyber criminals, no matter what operating system they are running; Windows, Android or even the iOS. And just like their big brothers on the PC, these malware attacks can take over any phone to use it for calculation capacity, for simple position tracking, to steal credit card data, or simply for capturing two-factor authentication messages to hack bank accounts.
And if those cyber criminals one day decide to use their “installed” base (the zombie army of potentially millions of phones) it could easily result in a large scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. As the article described, the emergency lines, for example, wouldn’t be able to handle a DDoS attack on that scale.
Concerning the similar attacking capabilities for browsers of the Great Firewall of China (The Great Cannon) there is no doubt that nation states will also find this method quite effective to immobilize the operations of critical infrastructures.