Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is your smart mobile phone free from virus?

Today's smart mobile phone is

- a miniature computer with email, document viewer, editor and other office tools,
- a style icon with sleek and slim body, touch screen, flexible orientation with flip or rotate,
- a moving map to let you know the place on the move with Global Positioning System(GPS),
- a mini theater with a digital surround stereo system (MP3 / FM radio),
- a mega pixel digital camera which can shoot still photos of shaking objects,
- an ATM card or bill pay machine which can pay bill with multiple clicks (pay with sms),
- a modem to allow you connect to internet via GPRS
- a messenger to communicate with short messages (SMS) or Multimedia messages (MMS)
- an authentication device to be used in two factor authentication ( What you have is - mobile phone, what you know is - password)

Now you can realize why it is called as smart phone and it's smart features are growing fast day by day.

Usage of Smart features:
Mobile subscriber base is growing by 6-7 million users per month, the usage of the smart features is also increasing at the same rate. As per M.Metrics benchmarks survey, mobile subscriber monthly consumption could contain: SMS Ads 20% - 60%, MMS file sharing - 20 -30%, music downloads- 15%- 20%, Email 9-15% , news updates 7% - 12%, followed by other features.

Smart Viruses and attacks
As the phone grows to become smart mobile phone, it is no more a phone which was used only to speak and listen. It is a miniature personal computer. It contains all the similar vulnerabilities a personal computer could possibly have. Threats such as Virus, spam, phishing (or smishing), data loss, device lost,etc., are first few to quote. Mostly hand sets with symbian are effected. The models effected are located at http://www.symbian.com/phones/

The Mobile virus on news

Mosquito Trojan:
Mosquito Trojan was born in August 2004. It is the first example of Trojans on mobile phone.
This mosquito bites the mobile phone users with charges of premium-rate SMS messages without user consent.The Trojan had been hidden in a pirated popular game with name Mosquito v2.0. Trojan triggers the mobile handset to sends out text messages at premium rates, while the game is being played.

Virus Type:Trojan Horse Name: Trojan.mos Impacted OS: Symbian S60

Disinfect mosquito virus

Cabir Blue tooth worm:

Cabir is a proof of concept worm that propogates through blue tooth. When the worm is executed it displays a message "Install Caribe? Yes No". Once installed it searches for another blue tooth device to infect. Worm runs every time the handset resets. Device hangs during the scanning process.

Virus type: Worm Virus Name: SymbOS.Cabir OS: Symbian Model effected:Bluetooth-enabled Nokia cellular telephones

Disinfect Cabir virus

Skulls Trojan

Skulls is a trojan hidden in a Nokia theme with name extended theme.sis. On installing this theme, all the application icons will change to skull icons and no mobile application will be able to work. Practically you will be able make and receive calls, no applications will work.

Disinfect Skulls virus:

Virus type:trojan Virus name: Skulls.a OS: Symbian Source: Software downloads

Other important Viruses

Appdisabler : It is a trojan similar to Skulls. It replaces all third party applications with non-functional application files.It drops other worms such as skulls, Cabir,etc.,

App disabler removal tool

CommWarrior : It is a worm which spreads through MMS and blue tooth. It randomly chooses a phone number from the device's phone book and sends an MMS message with commw.sis file as an attachment. If it is the first hour of the 14th of any month, this worm resets the device.

CommWarrior removal tool

HatiHati: It is a worm-like application that spreads via MMC cards. Once the worm copies itself to a new device, it starts sending a very high volume of SMS messages to a predefined number.

HatiHati removal tool

Sources of the Viruses

Viruses in general spread through blue tooth, infra red, Memory card sharing, MMS,
software downloads from unknown sources. Mostly the virus and worms were targeted on Symbian S60 Operating system which covers major portion of handset models. As the equations are changing, we can expect virus targeted on multiple Operating systems.

Top Ten controls to mitigate the risks

1.Treat the Smart phones exactly like a laptop and apply the similar controls.
2.Install Smart Mobile Antivirus software : F-secure, Symantec, Mcafee
3.Use Complex Passwords.
4.Wipe it clean, once device is lost.
5.Install Personal firewalls.
6.Delete application when not in use.
7.Download Applications only from known sources.
8.Say “yes” only to messages or files received from known sources.
9.Disable bluetooth and infra red when not in use.
10. Take backup of contacts and other important data regularly.

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