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24 January 2008, 13:32

Mobile worm infects Nokia phones

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Antivirus vendor Fortinet has issued an alert about a new mobile phone worm that spreads through MMS messages. The Beselo.A virus can only infect mobiles that run the Symbian S60 operating system, which includes many recent Nokia phones. It continues to spread from the infected mobiles by attempting to send itself as an installation file (SIS) to all of the contacts in the phone's address book. According to the alert, it then appears as Beauty.jpg, Sex.mp3 or Love.rm. Because Symbian identifies files based on their content and not their file extension, the installation dialogue starts once the file is opened. However the victim has to confirm several times before the actual malware functions are being executed.

The worm is reported to have no destructive effects, except for incurring high costs for MMS messages. You can tell if your mobile is infected by looking at the list of outgoing messages. In Germany most mobile networks either filter spam or block SIS files sent via MMS, preventing the worm from spreading. Vodafone in the UK was unable to confirm to heise Security whether the network is protected in this way.

According to T-Mobile, the number of infected MMS messages is increasing due to the continuing spread of smartphones. Even so, the number of infections is very limited, and there seems little point in using a virus scanner for your mobile. The situation may get more critical though, as iPhones and handsets with Windows Mobile become more widespread. Users are advised to take care when opening unsolicited MMS messages, and to pay attention to any warnings their phone gives them.

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