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Cell Phone Viruses Getting Scary

Finnish anti-virus company F-Secure Corp. has a series of fascinating writeups on its blog about a new cell-phone virus that has a very sneaky way of spreading.

Most of the cell-phone viruses in the wild today spread via "Bluetooth," a built-in feature in some handset models that allows wireless devices to exchange information with other devices that are within a short distance away (30 feet on average).

But according to F-Secure, a cell-phone virus dubbed "Mabir.A" listens for any text messages that arrive on the infected phone. When it detects an incoming message, it sends itself out as a reply. F-Secure provides information on how to get the virus off your phone.

I'm not sure what to make of these viruses, or how much of a real threat they are to most people. For one thing, the only phones that appear to be affected by these types of viruses so far are those running the Symbian operating system (follow this link for a complete list of handset models using this OS). Plus, in most cases, these mobile viruses ask you if you want to install the malicious file (although previous cell-phone viruses have come disguised as security patches for your phone).

Given how powerful many portable wireless devices are getting, the virus problem is bound to get worse, and I'm basing that on my interviews with people in the security community who are dedicating more time to researching these threats.

If you have one of these phones, one solution is just to turn off the Bluetooth functionality if you're not using it. Besides, having Bluetooth turned on drains your phone's battery much faster.

By Brian Krebs  |  April 4, 2005; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Latest Warnings  
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