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New Mobile-to-PC Worm Arrives

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
8/31/2006

Security software firm F-Secure Corp. has discovered a mobile-to-PC worm that it says could be a harbinger of things to come in the fast-moving world of wireless worms.

The "Mobler" worm, the firm posts, moves between the Symbian and Windows operating systems and vice versa. The worm creates code on the Symbian side that shows up on the memory that could be transferred to -- and potentially opened in -- Windows Explorer.

"Although it's quite nasty on the Windows side, it doesn't cause much harm on the Symbian device," F-Secure notes. "It just copies itself to the memory card and tries to trick the user into infecting his PC."

Enterprise users aren't too concerned yet about these kinds of mobile worms. "I think it is much more a risk for home users who are transferring ring tones, pictures, games, etc. to and from their home computers and their mobile devices," says Stephen Taylor, IS Manager at Denver, CO-based legal firm Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP "I see none of that happening in our workplace with our business computers."



All synchronization between PCs and mobile devices at the firm, he adds, is done at the server end, wirelessly, with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and GroupWise system, not at a user's desktop. "We saw too many machines infected with adware, spyware, and viruses, plus users were installing personal programs on their laptops."

Taylor, however, says that mobile and wireless viruses and worms are likely to become more threatening in the future. "I do believe that in general there will be more concern about how quickly mobile viruses are evolving," he says. "I think people who create viruses see the mobile arena as a new challenge."

It also seems that the Symbian Ltd. operating system is the platform of choice for mobile viruses and worms. (See More Mobile Malware, The Blue Flu? and UN: Smartphones at Risk.) "It is the open platform with the largest market share and therefore the most attractive to attackers," notes Charles Golvin, analyst at Forrester Research Inc. . He notes, however, that the same reasons mean that security firms like F-Secure also largely focus their efforts on the Symbian OS.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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