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SYS-CON.TV
New Mobile Phone Virus Identified
First Of Its Kind To Spread Via MMS

Antivirus companies have confirmed the first mobile phone virus that spreads using the popular Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). The virus, dubbed CommWarrior, spreads via infected attachments that, once opened, places copies of itself on vulnerable mobile phones and uses the phone's address book to send copies of itself to the owner's contacts using MMS.

MMS is a popular text messaging technology that is closely related to SMS (Short Messaging System), but allows mobile phone users to send multimedia content, such as sound files or photos, between MMS-compliant mobile phones. The technology is popular, especially outside the United States, where phone users have widely adopted newer-generation cell phones that support multimedia features and MMS messaging, according to Mikko Hypponen of F-Secure Corporation. CommWarrior has apparently been spreading slowly among cell phone users since January. The virus itself is not considered particularly serious; however, the virus could herald a new age of malicious and fast-spreading cell phone threats.

CommWarrior uses MMS to spread copies of itself to phone numbers stored in the address book of phones it infects. Victims receive MMS messages with file attachments that contain the CommWarrior virus. The messages contain enticing messages such as "3DGame from me. it is FREE!" and "Nokia RingtoneManager for all models," F-Secure says. When victims open the attached virus file, CommWarrior is installed on the phone and begins randomly sending MMS messages with copies of itself to numbers in the phone book. Complicating matters, CommWarrior can also spread between phones using Bluetooth wireless connections, says Victor Kouznetsov, senior vice president of mobile solutions for McAfee.

Those who do get infected with CommWarrior can easily shut the virus down by pressing and holding the menu button on their cell phone, then selecting the CommWarrior from the list of applications that appears and pressing the "C," or "Clear," button, Kouznetsov says. Once the virus is disabled, mobile phone owners can use file management tools on the phone to locate and remove the virus files. F-Secure and McAfee both posted bulletins listing the folders where the CommWarrior virus is installed on infected phones. Mobile phone viruses are a recent development, but could be a major threat in years to come, as mobile devices become more powerful, according to Hypponen and others.

Cabir, the first known mobile virus, spreads on phones running the Symbian operating system and that are equipped with Bluetooth wireless connections, including Series 60 phones from a number of manufacturers, such as Siemens AG, Nokia, and others. The virus first appeared last June as a "proof of concept" released by virus-writing group 29a.

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WBT News Desk brings you all the latest and greatest news from the world of wireless business and technology, including breaking news, technical articles and feature stories written by the world's leading experts of mBusiness.

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