Mobile Phone Attack

By: Kamal

If you own either a Windows Mobile or Symbian Series 60 smart phone,it will soon be hit by a virus.According to McAfee,a security solutions company,the number of malware programs created for mobile devices is expected to reach 726 by the end of 2006,a three-fold increase from 226 last year.

"Malware on handsets is following the same pattern that was observed on desktops," Today,people create viruses for financial gain."

The first generation of viruses are really the proof-of-concept variety.Here are some examples.

In 2000,the Timifonica virus infected PCs to send harmless text messages to cell phones.That's about all it did.The cabir worm (1994) spread between Symbian Series 60 phones through open Bluetooth connections Cabir spreads as infected SIS package called caribe.sis.

Commwarrior also spreads over Bluetooth via MMS,but spreads quite fast.It copies itself on to memory card that is inserted into the infected phone.It will also infect SIS executable files in the phone or memory card.It just announces itself within the browser window.

SymbOS.Skulls is a Trojan horse that changes all the application icons on a symbian phone to skull icons.
The redBrowser Trojan,which infects J2ME phones,promises to let you surf WAP-based web sites without a WAP connection.When active it sends SMS message to premium rate numbers at the rate of $5 - $6 per SMS.

There are Trojans that steal address book information and send them to hacker via SMS or MMS.Some look for infotmation such as stored passwords or sensitive information in spreadsheets.And some overwrite the system software in the phone,causing it to reset itself or behave strangely.

The next generation of viruses will target users who use their phones for financial transactions and mobile banking.

Protection

There are a couple of ways to protect handsets.Firstly,do turn off the Bluetooth mode and switch it on only when exchanging files.If you must have Bluetooth on,then switch it to the hidden mode.It is more difficult to write viruses to penetrate phones that are in the hidden Bluetooth mode.

Most security software makers such as Symantec,Mcafee,F-Secure,Trend Micro and others offer mobile security solutions that self-update.The agent module running on the phone was able to find and quarantine viruses in real-time.It has on-demand scanning too,and can update itself automatically.

At about $40,the protection is well worth it.Think about how much you'd have to pay a service center to restore your phone after a virus attack.

Remember how "I Love You" spread around the world in few hours?Imagine something similar happening on mobile devices.It would be a lot faster and lethal.

Cell Phones
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