Mobile IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner

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Mobile IoT: Article

New Cellphone Virus, Mabir, Attacks Symbian Series 60 Devices

Ability to Spread by MMS Alarms Finnish Virus Experts, F-Secure

The Finnish security experts F-Secure, listed on the Helsinki Exchanges since 1999, are reporting a new type of phone virus: "Mabir," a worm created by the author of the original Cabir and that operates on Symbian Series 60 devices and is capable of spreading via Bluetooth and MMS messages.

!Instead of just reading all phone numbers from the local address book," explained F-Secure research director Mikko Hypponen, "the Mabir.A worm listens for any SMS or MMS messages that arrive to the phone. When a message arrives, Mabir sends itself as MMS message to the sending phone number, thus posing as a reply to whatever message was sent to the infected phone."

The Mabir.A also spreads using Bluetooth using the same routine as early variants of Cabir, F-Secure expains. When Mabir.A activates it will search for the first Bluetooth phone it finds, and start sending copies of itself to that phone. "If the phone Mabir finds goes out of range, the Mabir.A still seems to be locked on that," the company notes.

The Cabir/Mabir virus writer apparently gave a magazine interview two weeks ago in which he actually said he hoped to write another cellphone virus "soon."


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Most Recent Comments
cnelzie 04/05/05 02:57:21 AM EDT

This is why a Cell Phone should just be a damn cell phone and not some do-all do-hickey. My Cell phones (Work and personal) are the most basic models you can get, aside from the work phone also including the 'cell modem' option.

Cell phones are there to make calls, not to be a camera, a computer, a PDA or any other kind of device.

The more complex these things become the more issues like this will crop up and cause problems.

Paulrothrock 04/05/05 02:56:07 AM EDT

One more reason that cell phone manufacturers need to focus on the big three (battery life, signal strength, ease of use) instead of mindless feature-creep.
Most people buy bluetooth phones and don't know what to use it for, just that it's another thing they have. (I have a Bluetooth phone, but only because my Powerbook also has bluetooth and can sync wirelessly. Otherwise I keep it turned off.)

Most people really just want a phone that can hold contacts, get really great reception, and lasts a while between charges. (And, outside the US, send and recieve text messages easily.) Why not focus on these features? The same reason most car commercials are about performance and showing off instead of reliability and gas mileage; people are more convinced by flash than substance.

Repeat after me: Something that has a lot of functions doesn't do any of those things as well as a dedicated piece of equipment. (PCs are a special case; software isn't.) Just like the only unitasker in your kitchen should be a fire extinguisher, the only multitasker in your geek lair should be your PC.

Dagny Taggert 04/05/05 02:54:13 AM EDT

I would love to see a simpler phone without features like Bluetooth. This would eliminate some of this out of the box. I may be in the minority, but all I need to do on my cell phone is make phone calls.

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