Digital Planet

a journal of digital life

Monday, April 25, 2005

Smartphone Trojan Threat Overstated

Viruses threat is becoming closer to the smart-phone. But two vendors of anti-virus software said that the current threat of viruses aimed at smartphones is not as great as initially believed.

At last count, the number of new viruses affecting smart mobile phones stood at 52, according to SimWorks, a US based security firm.

These are phones belonging to the Series 60 of Nokia and use the Symbian operating system (the most widely used operating system for smart phones) and the viruses found were mostly hidden in the games.

Another anti-virus vendor, F-Secure, said it had examined the 52 viruses and confirmed that they were, indeed, malicious and were based on the Skulls trojan, which was first reported last November.

Symbian anti-virus specialist SimWorks announced today that it has identified 52 previously unknown trojans for the Symbian platform, more than all of the trojans and other malware for Symbian based devices combined identified to date.

The trojans appear to be cracked versions of popular Symbian applications such as BitStorm, BugMe!, Cosmic Fighter, 3D Motoracer and SplashID. In addition to the installation files for the application itself, the files also include various versions of previously known malware such as Cabir and Locknut.

Symbian runs small computer-like applications such as navigation programs, email and enterprise planning software. The fear is that Trojans can do to a cell phone what computer viruses can do to a PC, that is corrupt the phone, make valuable data disappear, and even send photo messages to all the contacts in the memory.

But none of the trojans the company examined have been found in the wild. "Until reports are received of these trojans in the wild, there is little risk to end users," Aaron Davidson, SimWorks' CEO, said in a statement.