New mobile virus runs up huge bills

Hackers have a created a new trojan that infects Java-based mobile phones and sends text messages to premium rate phone numbers costing unwitting users $6 each time.

The "RedBrowser" virus tricks users into thinking they can access websites on their phone via text messages. The Java-based malware can infect a phone either by connecting it to a PC carrying the virus or downloaded from a Wap website. Only subscribers to Russian mobile operators are currently affected.

According to Kaspersky Labs, this is the first example of this type of virus it has seen.

"Although this is the first sample we've seen, there are probably other similar programs out there in the wild. It's a sign that virus writers are widening their reach, and no longer only targeting smart phones," said Aleks Gostev, Kaspersky Lab senior virus analyst.

Mikko Hypponen, director of anti-virus research at F-Secure said the virus was unique as it was the first that attempted to steal money.

"The threat is is still very limited," he said. "This thing does not spread by itself and we have no direct reports of anybody being hit by it in Russia, where the first reports were from."

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