By Sven Appel May 6, 2007, 4:52 GMT
Bonn -- It's a brave new world for mobile phones as many tasks such as
e-mails and web surfing that used to be the exclusive realm of
computers have now shifted to phones.
Unfortunately, that means viruses and Trojan horse programs have also
made the transition.
These new viruses with names like 'CommWarrior,' usually runs
unnoticed in the background, and sends itself out as an MMS (a text
message that includes data files) to numbers in the telephone
book. CommWarrior can only be activated if a user accepts and installs
it, which is why it's generally disguised as an update program.
Still, the danger is minimal compared to the kind of havoc viruses can
wreak in computers.
'There's a lot of unnecessary panic,' said Christoph Hardy, a
spokesman for Sophos, a company that designs security software. An
owner of an ordinary mobile phones, who uses it mainly for
telephoning, has no need to worry. Mobile phone viruses are aimed
primarily at smart phones, mobiles with Symbian operating systems or
ones with Windows interfaces.
Telephones meeting those standards are rare and their numbers do not
warrant an attack.
'Viruses and Trojans targeted at mobile phones so far experiment with
proof of concept,' said Matthias Gaertner of the Federal Agency for
Information Security Technology (BSI) in Bonn. In other words, the
virus makers are trying to determine which forms of attack work.
'There is no current threat,' says Gaertner. But that could change
easily as the number of smart phones rises and the use of mobile
internet services becomes more popular with the spread of UMTS devices
and sinking fees. Hackers might take an interest in information people
send back and forth via a mobile, especially when it comes to payment
services that might provide information about bank accounts.
Thus, the BSI is already advising mobile customers to equip their
devices with virus protection. After all, even today, many people
would be inconvenienced, if a virus wiped out all their contact
details. Gaertner advises people to back up such information
Hardy says the main danger these days is accidentally transmitting
viruses. Users can prevent that in the same way as they block PC
viruses -- do not open unexpected mail attachments or attachments from
Copyright 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur