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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Phone virus spreads through Scandinavian company

From InfoWorld:

A mobile phone virus recently hit a small company in Scandinavia and spread from one handset to another, according to security vendor F-Secure.

It was the first instance F-Secure has seen of a mobile virus making serious headway into an enterprise after showing up on an employee's phone, said Ero Carrera, an antivirus researcher at F-Secure, which is based in Helsinki, Finland. The outbreak lasted about a day as dozens of employees received the virus and about 20 of them opened it on their phones, causing it to spread, according to a Web log entry on F-Secure's site. F-Secure did not identify the company that experienced the outbreak or the country where it is based.

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From securityfocus.com:

...At first glance, mobile phones might seem to have all the technology needed for a major virus outbreak in 2005. They have modern CPUs, built-in Bluetooth wireless technology, and data transfer across multiple networks. Many even ship with Java. By some estimates, up to half of these new "smartphones" leave the factory with some version of the Symbian OS, which is gaining in popularity....

The first proof-of-concept mobile phone virus appeared in June 2004 for the Symbian OS, but as proof of concepts tend to be, it proved relatively harmless. Subsequent versions have significantly improved capabilities, but they're still very low risk. Most interestingly, they all use Bluetooth to propagate....

Getting infected with a virus via Bluetooth is interesting because it's akin to a human virus, which requires proximity to spread -- but it also severely limits how far the virus can go. As newer variants get smarter, however, they'll start to use the phone's GPRS-style data capabilities to spread. After all, they have immediate access to the address book inside your mobile phone....

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