Virus worms its way around mobiles

The first mobile phone virus to infect multiple files could point the way to the future of mobile viruses, experts claim. Lasco.A, discovered this week, inserts itself into any Symbian Installation System (SIS) file.

"In one sense it's a follow up on the Cabir virus," said David Emm, senior technology consultant at anti-virus firm Kaspersky. "It's the first that infects other files and a step forward in this type of virus. I'm sure we'll see more of this in the future."

Lasco.A spreads itself via Bluetooth devices with roaming capability, but for now still requires a reasonable amount of user interaction. Once a connection has been made a screen appears asking, 'Install Velasco?' The user must then agree to installation.

Although not yet in the wild some reports suggest Lasco.A code is already available online. "Cabir was followed by a number of new variants and I expect this to be the same," said Emm. "It's restricted to SIS files at the moment but the virus can also work on WIN32 files. It won't be long before that happens."

Emm also future mobile phone viruses could transfer to PC's. "I've thought for a while this is a possibility. It's only a matter of time before we see cross-infections," he said.

The end of 2004 represented the first time mobile phone viruses spread in the wild. First detected in Asia, Cabir made its way into Western Europe in a matter of weeks. It was soon followed by the Skulls trojan, which replaced mobile phone graphics with pictures of skulls.

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