Researchers from the Netherlands are working on a communications app so resilient that it can survive communications and power outages, natural disasters, and can self-replicate, mutate and spread virally between clusters of mobile phones, eventually across all mobile OSes.
In the paper Autonomous smartphone apps: self-compilation, mutation, and viral spreading [PDF], lead Paul Brusee and co-researcher Johan Pouwelse detail the development of a smart phone tool so resilient that it can compile itself, enabling a daisy-chained mesh network of smartphones which in effect act collectively as cell towers – which might themselves either have been destroyed by earthquakes or other disasters, or else have been turned off, monitored or interfered with by governments concerned about civilian aggregation.
The app replicates within the Android OS at the moment, though future work is anticipated to enable it to spread as easily between iOS and Windows phones, since it does not require root access in order to reproduce, and is not intended to be spread via stores such as Google Play or other centralised app repositories.
You can totally guess what I downloaded and started messing with.
Oh and brace yourselves. With the source code release, there will probably be several bits of malware using this by the time you are this post. This can't YET spread itself. However...