Cabir cell-phone virus was detected inside the US

Cabir is marking the beginning of the mobile phone virus era

By    February 22nd, 2005 08:51 GMT
Last June, the 29A group released another proof-of-concept virus called Cabir that was aimed at devices using the Symbian operating system. Phones vulnerable to this virus are Nokia's 3650, 7650 and the N-Gage gaming/mobile hybrid.

The Cabir virus uses the Bluetooth short-range radio system to spread between devices and disguises itself as a security program. It also asks permission to install itself. Any device running the Symbian's Series 60 software could be vulnerable but anti-virus firms say there is little evidence that the virus is spreading in the wild.

Due to the short range of the Cabir spread, considering Bluetooth technology has only a 30 ft range, it took the Cabir worm quite a bit of time to spread into 12 countries, ranging from China to the United Kingdom.

However, slowly but efficiently it is marking the beginig of the mobile phone virus era.

The biggest impact of the relatively harmless virus, found in about 15 variations so far, is draining mobile phone batteries, director of Finnish anti-virus research company F-Secure Mikko Hypponen said.

He was the one to find in a technology gagdets store in Santa Monica, California, when a passing gadget owner saw a strange sign on the screen of a phone in the store.

The store owner's phone had also been infected, Hypponen said. Both devices were made by Nokia. Mr Hypponen said it was likely other devices in the area were also infected by Cabir, although there was no confirmation of that.

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