April 22, 2005
 



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Posted: 11.24.04
Skull and Bones Strikes Bitter Tone
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Well, it finally happened. As reported by Cape Argus, the first malicious cell phone virus, or malware, has been released. Specifically targeting Nokia smartphones, the virus, called Skulls, replaces the icons on the phone desktop with pictures of a skull and crossbones. While invasive and certainly annoying, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if that were the extent of the virus’s effects. Unfortunately, Skulls also kills all the applications residing on the phone, including MMS and SMS.  

By Eric M. Zeman




Though Skulls isn’t the first virus to target cell phones, it is the first behave maliciously. A couple of months ago, Cabir, a lab-created virus, was aimed at cell phones under the strict guidance of experimenters to see the possible effects cell phone viruses could have. Cape Argus stated that Cabir was spread by Bluetooth, a short-range radio link used by most high-end cell phones, to exchange phonebook entries, images and ringtones; the proof-of-concept worm installed itself before politely asking if it may be allowed to propagate.

Skulls, though, acts much more like a traditional computer virus, sneaking its way onto your phone Trojan-style by posing as free phone wallpaper with the file named 7610.extended.theme.manager.zip.

It appears that the virus only affects the Nokia 7610 smartphone and, once installed, replaces all working versions of applications such as contacts, notebook and calendar with non-functional versions. Users of infected phones will only be able to place and answer calls. All other functions controlled by software will be rendered useless.

The Web site f-secure.com has posted step-by-step instructions for ridding the phone of the virus.







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