Symbian smartphone Trojan detected in the wild

12 August 2004 A ‘Trojan horse’ that sends costly SMS text messages without the user’s consent has been found in the wild on Symbian smartphones.

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The Trojan is embedded in a pirated version of the popular Symbian game Mosquito 2.0. When users download it, a Trojan is also run that starts to send text messages to premium rate numbers (about £1.50 per message) without the owner’s knowledge.

Symbian, however, is blaming users for the infection. According to a statement on the Symbian web site, the only way to infect a phone with malware is by deliberate installation of a pirated copy of the Mosquito game by the user.

Symbian claims that when a user attempts to install the pirated version of Mosquito 2.0, they will receive two authentication warnings saying that the source of the game is unknown. Only if the user deliberately ignores these warnings will the game and the Trojan be installed, claims the company.

Users have been warned to be on the lookout for similar attacks. “Whenever we see something which is successful, we see copycats,” said Sal Viveros, a security specialist at McAfee. The explosion in the number of downloadable ring tones, wallpaper and games for such phones has multiplied the potential threats in a market that is difficult to regulate, he added.

News of the Mosquito Trojan comes just weeks after the first mobile phone virus, Cabir, was discovered and only days after the first proof-of-concept virus, called Duts, affected the Microsoft’s Pocket PC operating system.

First pocket PC virus discovered (19 July)
Mobile virus exposes smartphones’ security flaws (16 June)

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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