Worm Is First To Target Mobile Phones

Kaspersky Labs says the Cabir worm uses Bluetooth to find another phone with the Symbian operating system and transmit a copy

George V. Hulme, Contributor

June 18, 2004

1 Min Read

Russian antivirus software maker Kaspersky Labs Ltd. last week reported it has spotted the first worm designed to infect mobile phones.

Named Cabir, the worm infects mobile phones running the Symbian OS operating system, Kaspersky said in an alert. Cabir appears to be a so-called "proof of concept" worm; Kaspersky says it hasn't detected signs that the worm is spreading.

Cabir spreads as a Symbian operating-system distribution file, or SIS file, but is disguised to appear as a Caribe Security Manager utility. The word "Caribe" is displayed on the screens of infected phones.

Similar to old-fashioned boot-sector viruses, Cabir will activate each time the phone is started, scan for nearby Bluetooth-enabled phones, and then transmit a copy of itself to the first phone it reaches.

Virus researchers have long warned that more types of malicious software will be aimed at handheld devices and mobile phones as the operating systems in these devices increase in complexity.

Antivirus and security experts say they don't expect to see Cabir successfully spread far because of the close proximity required for Bluetooth.

About the Author(s)

George V. Hulme


An award winning writer and journalist, for more than 20 years George Hulme has written about business, technology, and IT security topics. He currently freelances for a wide range of publications, and is security blogger at InformationWeek.com.

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