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The New "Mobile Device Virus" Era Begins; Cabir Arrives in the USA
"It's Not the End of the World," Says Expert

It has twelve variants, all of which drain cell phone batteries, and it was first discovered in the Philippines eight months ago. Now it seems that it has arrived in the USA: Cabir, the world's first mobile phone virus has just turned up in Santa Monica, CA.

"It's not the end of the world," said Mikko Hypponen, director of Finnish security specialists F-Secure, who discovered Cabir on a Nokia cell phone in a technology gadgets store in Santa Monica, after someone spotted a telltale sign on the screen of the phone.

The store owner's cell phone had also been infected.

Cabir is a Bluetooth-using worm that runs in Symbian mobile phones that support Series 60 platform. It replicates over Bluetooth connections and arrives to the phone's messaging inbox as caribe.sis file containing the worm. "When user clicks the caribe.sis and chooses to install the Caribe.sis file the worm activates and starts looking for new devices to infect over Bluetooth," explained Hypponen.

When Cabir worm finds another Bluetooth device it will start sending infected SIS files to it, and lock to that phone so that it won't look for other phones even when the target moves out of range.

The Cabir worm can reach only mobile phones that support Bluetooth, and are in discoverable mode. Cabir is capable of sending infected files to only one other device per activation. So Cabir will try to infect one other device when it is activated the first time, and then one more each time when the phone is rebooted.

In tests, F-Secure has found that a newly infected phone will first look for the phone that sent the infected file. "So Cabir is capable of spreading widely only in cases where the phone that sent the infected file is out of range before user activates the Cabir in a new phone,"continued Hypponen. 

Which means that, while Cabir is capable of spreading in the wild, it would spread quite slowly and would not cause large epidemic.

Even so, the Santa Monica siting is the beginning of the new mobile device virus era.

 

About Security News Desk
SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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Update! New, deadlier virus found: skull and bones. Read all abouy it on securemyphone.blogspot.com

I just started a blog on mobile security, to help the fight against mobile viruses. You can now read the whole Cabir history there, and there are also resources for its removal.

A new cell phone virus, more deadly than "Cabir," is fast spreading in the Philippines.

The "skull and bone virus" is fast spreading in mobile telephone networks in the country

In Japan, DoCoMo is among the first of the wireless carriers to create an antivirus program for its subscribers to use.

the advise is not to use advanced mobile phones - use siemens a35 and you're all set

If the virus writer would have smart he would have made a virus for Motorola/Nextel phones. The virus would preferably disable the two-way annoying beep. Maybe the virus could have also helped the Nextel's service. It definitely couldn't have made the service any worse.

Don't let this be blown out of proportion if you are tech savy you wont get infected by it.

Just say no to files you did not send your phone over Bluetooth is that sooooooo difficult?

yeah, i got infected with the caribe virus as well on my nokia 7610! and i must say i hate the virus...!!!!!, it drains the battery like crazy, i had to recharge the phone almost everyday, plus i was the phone soooo unresponsive.....! so i got tired of it, and took it to the nokia repair center so that they would reinstall the whole os from scratch.., and it was then fixed......

its all over here in my country (U.A.E) i dont know anyone who have s60 nokia and didnt get infected with that virus .. and theres even another virus called metal gear a and another one that i dont remember its name




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