Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Communications Handhelds Hardware

First Destructive Mobile Phone Virus In The Wild 265

Posted by timothy
from the radio-silence dept.
gbjbaanb writes "eek! the BBC is reporting the first mobile phone virus that causes damage is out and about. The virus only works with the Symbian Series 60's OS (no, not the Smartphone) and spreads through an adapted copy of the legitimate Mosquitos game. Once installed, a hidden program sends SMS texts to premium rate numbers. That's not so bad, no doubt the premium rate numbers will be switched off soon but the worst is yet to come - "typically we see them in the wild then copycat ones come along soon after," said Sal Viveros, director of wireless security at McAfee."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

First Destructive Mobile Phone Virus In The Wild

Comments Filter:
  • bah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:10PM (#9940253)
    "typically we see them in the wild then copycat ones come along soon after," said Sal Viveros, director of wireless security at McAfee."

    he means after they are done writing and releasing the viruses, of course.
    • Re:bah... (Score:2, Interesting)

      Just entertain the thought for a moment: could it be , just by some remote chance, that with Microsoft about the kill the A/V market on Windows, the recent release of new viruses on the previously untouched smart cellphone target isn't just a coincidence?

      I mean, you've got to admit, cell phones that do many things a computer does and require a complex OS aren't exactly new, and they've always been "networked" (by definition), but somehow it's only now that this market could provide a bail-out route from th
      • Re:bah... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Tongo (644233) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:57PM (#9940711)
        Here, you need it more than I do....
        **passes tinfoil hat***
  • Great.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MP3Chuck (652277) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:11PM (#9940266) Homepage Journal
    Yet another reason I'm glad I have my cell phone that ... OH YEA! Just makes calls. Who'd have thunk it?
    • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:15PM (#9940308) Journal
      Is this something new?

      Maybe it's the leading edge of a whole, new category of consumer devices! The single purpose device that only does one thing, but does it well!

      • He said nothing about it doing it well.

        A fairly important distinction.

      • by FrankHaynes (467244) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:41PM (#9940550)
        The problem is that marketers, in league with the propeller heads, keep finding more and more features that we don't need while ignoring the one feature that we all demand: reliable voice coverage.

        Just because we can do something does not mean that we must or should do it. This is yet another example of a solution searching desperately for a problem; a feature (of J2ME) which is rushed to market in the hopes that everyone will go ga-ga over it, while the basic cellular service problems go ignored.
        • All these added features in a cell phone.....it makes sense from a manufacturers point of view.

          They are all asking their R&D departments to come up with features that give the most bang for the $'s spent. While there are serious cost limitations on how the communications portion of the system can be improved, extra games are simply added software and attract customers attention.

          Cameras can be explained in a similar (but more complicated) way. Camera hardware is an added expense, BUT the phone servic
        • keep finding more and more features that we don't need while ignoring the one feature that we all demand: reliable voice coverage.

          Why does everybody think cell phone manufacturer's are the ones who are installing cell sites? I can make a simple voice phone if I want to, but it's not going to do anything at all to the number of cells in the field. Cell manufacturers take the radio performance of their handsets very seriously -- but that means precisely jack when there's no signal to pick up, or your car

          • I'm well aware of the needed synergy between subscriber equipment and network infrastructure. As another poster mentioned, features like cameras and SMS drive up the traffic to the $$$ benefit of the carriers, so that much makes perfect sense as to why such features are developed.

            What makes no sense is that if the network coverage is suffering from what it could be, I can't take full advantage of these premium services. I can't send you a picture of my--uh, me if I get a weak or non-existent signal.

            Has an
    • Re:Great.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nlawalker (804108) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:24PM (#9940407)
      I wish I had a phone that just made calls. It seems that mobile phone companies still have yet to make a phone that can even do that well. I'd love to see a push forward in a more usable interface too... obviously, it's tough to change things such as the stanard telephone key layout, but my newer Nokia phone, for example, has basically the same look and feel as one of the first phones I ever had years ago. Also, the power button is a pain in the ass, the battery cover is very flimsy, and the color screen (of which I really wouldn't care if it was black and white) is difficult to read even in mild sunlight.

      Once they make a phone that fixes problems like these and works with the service in a way that I can make and receive good quality calls, THEN I'll be interested in what they have to say about other uses of mobile phones.

      • I had an old nokia 8620. Solid phone, had a snake game. It died, and although I had insurance I needed a new phone right away (I was trying to get a job -- which didn't happen). so I ended up signing a new 2 year agreement just to get a free phone immediately.

        The thing I have now is loaded with features, but the basic interface is shit. The most annoying thing -- The ringer is to quiet, and I can't set it to ring and vibrate at the same time. I miss calls when I'm listening to loud music, now, that I
    • Re:Great.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by glesga_kiss (596639) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:39PM (#9940537)
      I'm glad I have my cell phone that ... OH YEA! Just makes calls. Who'd have thunk it?

      I know, I was like talking to a friend the other day, and he said he saw a computer with "CD-ROM" device attached to it. What's the point in that? Who'd ever need to play music on a computer? All you need is to be able to print letters. Floppy disks ought to be big enough for everyones storage needs.

      /sarcasm (circa 1992)

  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:12PM (#9940274) Homepage
    "Once we are in the 3G world, we basically have a broadband connection, so phones will be closer to PCs in terms of functionality.

    "Having that connectivity historically leads to the spread of viruses."


    Once more and more devices run the same OS/software and more and more people are using that same OS/software more and more viruses will be written for it. Bandwith has little to do with it.

    SMS' to "premium numbers" are annoying and don't require massive mobile bandwith to work.
  • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:13PM (#9940289)
    According to The Register [theregister.co.uk], the malware was built into Mosquitos to begin with as a copy protection mechanism. I don't know whether to believe it or not -- if it's true, it's a really clever way of recouping development costs, and puts a new twist on "software that calls home".

    Of course, worm writers will still catch on quickly anyway, I'll bet.
    • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:15PM (#9940312) Homepage
      For most people SMS' will show up on their bill as most people don't do much FREE sending of SMS' (at least here in the states). I think that these people would see their bill go up and find out the reason for it.

      Personally, if I were charged for SMS' without my consent I would want to recoup those costs myself as well.
      • It probably varies from provider to provider, but even free calls, etc show up on my bill - they're just charged at "0.00" and have an "F" beside them. Thus a cursory glance should reveal this sort of thing going on if it does it a lot, especially if it does it at odd times (ie I wouldn't be smsing anyone at 3am on a Tuesday...)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It isn't "clever" at all - a lot of commercial software does the same thing over TCP/IP if available. (TeXtures and QuarkXPress for Mac both did this, though one could just unplug eth0 while the app booted...)

      The ONLY difference here is that it uses a premium, possible-pay-per-use medium to make the calls and is thus, afaic, not too different from those porno over-seas 900 dialers that were a big deal last year. This is not clever and it is probably illegal under computer abuse acts (sure would be in the U
  • by minator (744625) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:14PM (#9940293)
    The "virus" is a broken anti piracy system...

    Get the full shimmy here [theregister.com].

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:14PM (#9940296)
    First, its not a virus since it cant spread on its own. Its a trojan if its anything. Second, since this only effects people who steal software, why should i care?
    • Shortsightedness (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TiggertheMad (556308)
      Second, since this only effects people who steal software, why should i care?

      1985: "AIDS? Why do I care? Only homosexuals and junkies get it."

      Your attitude is remarkably self-centered. There are a lot of problems in the world that are aggravated by shortsighted people such as yourself.
  • So stale, so wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Entrope (68843) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:14PM (#9940300) Homepage
    The Register [theregister.co.uk] already dug into the details. The premium-rate calls were not added by a virus or by warez monkeys, but were in the original game as a way to monitor who copied it.
    • who to believe? - the BBC article states that the program never sent sms messages to premium rate numbers - it just sent SMS messages back to base if the version being used was unlicensed. This was a feature of the game, not introduced by crackers... Hardly what I'd call a virus...
  • Why is this news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Svennig (665498) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:14PM (#9940301)
    Why is this news?

    This is more a user intelligence program than a true threat to the symbian 60 series. If it propogated to all the numbers in a phone book (via SMS for example) then it would be something worth worrying about.

  • WTH? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe5678 (135227) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:15PM (#9940305)
    Ok the article that is linked to explicitly says that it does NOT send SMS to premium numbers, only regular SMS messages, and that it does no other damage. So explain to me how this is so very "Destructive"?
    • by Tet (2721) *
      it does NOT send SMS to premium numbers, only regular SMS messages, and that it does no other damage. So explain to me how this is so very "Destructive"?

      Regular SMS messages still cost money. OK, so it's not "destructive", but it's definitely harmful.

  • by gambit3 (463693) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:17PM (#9940323) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    The company that made the original legitimate Mosquito game, Ojom, said it had installed the program itself in earlier versions of the game after concerns over piracy.

    It was intended that the program secretly send a SMS message to alert them if an unlicensed copy was being used, according to Mr Hypponen.
  • Not a virus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nmg196 (184961) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:17PM (#9940330)
    This is not a virus. It doesn't spread itself. It's simply a trojan that you have to manually download and install by bypassing two security warnings after first having found it on an irreputable site or P2P network. Hardly a threat.

    I'm also not sure it deserves to to be called destructive either. It doesn't destruct anything or in any way modify any other services on your phone - it simply sends SMS messages. It would be better classed as "expensive" :)
    • Well, if it racks up enough charges that you can't afford to pay your bill, then your service will be terminated. That's a pretty big modification to you phone services!
    • What about those porn-dialer trojans that call crazy 900 numbers in asia, do you consider those harmless?

      Malicious may have been a better word, but "destructive" like most adjectives is pretty much subjective.

      If you think about it, malware is destructive if you incur a cost.. Either in time, money or both.

      I'd consider this more "destructive" than a virus that, say, wiped out my address book, because that would only 'cost' me about 20 seconds to resync to my PC. This would cost me the many hours and hass
    • Re:Not a virus (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dspyder (563303)
      You're correct!!! And rather than post a redundant message, I will add here that this type of crap (non-replicating, non-spreading) should be reffered to as a Trojan or at the very least Malware (depending on exactly what it does).

      Of course, the public grasps onto Virus = Bad, regardless of its actual function

      In reality, most computer viruses are fascinating studies...

      --D
  • That is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Space_Soldier (628825) <not4_u@hotmail.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:17PM (#9940332)
    ... a phone needs to be just a bloody phone.
    • Re:That is why... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Launch (66938)
      Product integration is a great idea. I'm happy my phone has a digital camera in it, I'm happy I can sync it to outlook. Both my PDA and Digital camera are factors of 10 better than the tools on my moto V400.... but when I'm steping out of the house it's nice to not have to gear down unnessicarly.

      A phone needs to be just everything it can possibly be.

      • Well no, we need to be able to buy whatever we want. Surely you'd agree choice is a good thing.

        Sure, they should sell phones that are everything they could possibly be. They also should sell simple phones for people like me who don't want shortened battery life, slower operation, increased likelyhood of failure, to have to "update" software, to have to leave my phone everytime I enter a secure area because of the camera, more complex interface, risk of viruses or any of the other reasons there are for not
    • and a computer should only be an unsigned integer adding machine god damn it!
  • clarifications (Score:5, Informative)

    by YouTalkinToMe (559217) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:17PM (#9940333)
    Some clarifications, for those who don't read the article:

    1. It was not a virus. A pirated version of a game included malware that SMS'd a phone number without the users permission.

    2. The malware was not added by the people who pirated the game. Interestingly, it was an intended feature of the game, included by the company.

    3. The original intent of the malware was to secretly "phone home" when a pirated version of the game was being played. Because of complaints, they removed this "feature" from later versions. The pirated version was old, and still includes the "feature".

    What I find interesting is that they included such a "feature" to begin with.

    • strangely enough, I cut and pasted parts (ahem) of the original article I read. I didn't add much myself. The BBC article has since been updated.

      So, in this case, you can't read the article :)
  • by grunt107 (739510) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:18PM (#9940341)
    This virus causes 1-900 numbers to be dialed and connected for more than 1 minute (sometimes as long as 2 minutes).
    • This virus causes 1-900 numbers to be dialed and connected for more than 1 minute (sometimes as long as 2 minutes).

      Contact your provider. Most offer a plan that disables 1-900 calls. I have no reason to call the toll numbers. Other family members use the phone. No need for expensive suprises.

      If you need to use 1-900 numbers, consider having it only on the land line. POTS phones don't run games and trojans.

      (I know it's humor, laugh)
  • There by design ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by PReDiToR (687141) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:18PM (#9940348) Homepage Journal
    From The Register [theregister.co.uk].

    Mosquitos smartphone 'Trojan' there by design
    By John Leyden [theregister.co.uk]
    Published Wednesday 11th August 2004 13:31GMT
    The Mosquitos Symbian dialler Trojan is not really a Trojan horse after all.

    Many news outlets [google.com], including ourselves [theregister.co.uk], reported that a trojanised version of Mosquitos game for Symbian Series 60 smartphones was circulating online [google.com] and across P2P networks. Cracked versions of the game secretly sends SMS messages to premium rate numbers, according to reports on various online forums [geekzone.co.nz].

    Illegal copies of the game display the following message on start-up: This version has been cracked by SODDOM BIN LOADER No rights reserved. Pirate copies are illegal and offenders will have lotz of phun!!!

    Yesterday Symbian put out a statement [symbian.com] which contributed to the impression that malign code was inserted into 'cracked' versions of the game by members of the computer underground. However it turns out that the hidden SMS functionality, along with a message written in the best vernacular VXer speak, was put in the game from the beginning by the original games publisher Ojom.

    In an advisory [f-secure.com], AV firm F-Secure explains: This functionality was intended to be a copy-protecting technique - it didn't work as planned and the whole functionality backfired.

    The premium rate contracts for the phone numbers have been terminated, so although old versions of the game still send hidden SMS messages, it only costs the nominal fee of sending the message itself. Current versions of this game no longer have this hidden functionality, but 'cracked' versions of Mosquitos still float in P2P network - and they still send these messages, it adds.

    So what appeared to be a Trojan is actually a rather sneaky and somewhat ineffective copy-protection technique. Proof that even if something looks like a duck, talks like a duck and walks like a duck it isn't necessarily Anas platyrhynchos.

    Although the Mosquitos saga turns out to be an urban myth, the recent discovery [theregister.co.uk] of the first malware capable of infecting smartphones shatters the comforting belief the mobile phones are safe from viral infection. The threat is very low at present but shouldn't be completely discounted. ®

  • "Destructive"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Samurai Cat! (15315) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:19PM (#9940354) Homepage
    Nowhere in the article is that term used. And the description of the virus doesn't sound like it causes "damage" at all. The submitter's info leads one to believe the phones are made unusable.

    Editors, please edit before posting these stories. :)
  • by LanMan04 (790429) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:20PM (#9940364)
    As much of a technophile as I am, I'm starting to see a disturbing trend in technology...nifty new technology that's supposed to make your life more convenient (TiVO, VoIP, multi-function cell phones) almost always end up having problems, and end up creating a lot of stress and headache (although whether this negates the device's 'usefulness' is debatable, obviously). We've had telephones for quite a while now, same thing with cars, TV, etc, but all of a sudden there are troubleshooting prodecures for everything.

    I don't want to live in a world where I have to download patches and updates for my phone, TV, cell phone, alarmclock, bathroom scale, toaster, fridge, etc, every other week, or worry about them charging me money or disclosing private information. Some things work just great already and don't need all sorts of crazy upgrading, networking, or convergence. If you had a portable game thingy (not connected to any network) to play 'Mosquitoes', you wouldn't have to worry about this!
  • by hattig (47930) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:20PM (#9940376) Journal
    Does allowing an application to send a text message strike people as being a pretty bad design decision?

    Phone applications/games should not be able to access any function that might cost the user money. Or if they do, then the OS itself should intercept and ask the user if they wish to allow the application to send the SMS / phone call / data call. "PsychoSolitaire wishes to send a message to +XX.YYYYYYYYY. This will cost £x. Yes/No/Never"

    That is just sensible and obvious design.
    • My el-cheapo Nokia 1800 does that. Then again, it's very simple, but it has an option so that no money-costing message ever gets sent without double confirmation.
    • No. If I run software on my phone I want it to be able to have access to any features of the phone.

      Your logic of blocking is not unlike saying "Modern operating systems shouldn't allow an application to dial a 900 or long distance number with out the user giving permission"

      This is a fine idea in theory, but creates an unnecessary burden for the software user. Of course... there is nothing to stop a software programmer from automatically clicking the yes button of the OS generated dialog box as some applic
      • Weren't some functions in NT 4.0 accesible only after a hard ctrl-alt-del ? Maybe it's time to build some hard coded, hardware only goodness into mobile OSs. The only way to say ok would be to push an actual, real, clickity-click button.

        Just ignorant speculation here
  • by DynamicBits (542509) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:21PM (#9940381) Homepage
    Slashdot:
    "First Destructive Mobile Phone Virus In The Wild"
    "...a hidden program sends SMS texts to premium rate numbers."

    Article:
    "...text messages will still be sent, although not at premium rates."
    "Mosquito's Trojan does not do any other damage..."

    Does anyone verify that the slashdot article actually represents the real article?
    • It sends to premium rate numbers, those numbers have been terminated, so at present it sends at the regular rates, which so far as I'm concerned, are premium enough.

      If jacking your mobile bill 100 bucks a month isn't "destructive" enough for you, then, there's nothing I can do about that.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Frankly, if everyone that pirated software got $100 tacked onto their phone bill, I'd dance in the streets!
    • by garcia (6573) *
      Article:
      "...text messages will still be sent, although not at premium rates."
      "Mosquito's Trojan does not do any other damage..."


      Most people I know here the US do not have unlimited SMS plans. Most people don't know much about text messaging at all. So these people would be sending SMS messages out and being billed for it regardless of the numbers being "premium rate" or not.

      Thus it does do damage as your bill goes up that month.

      • "Mosquito's Trojan does not do any other damage..."
        ...other than get you billed a fuckton each month.

        Ahhh... both points refuted! mod grandparent into the ground. ;-)
    • Does anyone verify that the slashdot article actually represents the real article?

      Yes, if by represent you mean "vaguely resembles" and by real you mean "lunatic interperatation inside some readers head". But the slashdot headline grabs your attention better than the more accurate "'Game virus' bites mobile phones" title that the BBC used I suppose.

    • /. editors READ the articles??

      MWHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

      We all know getting your article posted depends on who on the editorial staff you're sleeping with / friends with / cybering with / sucking up to.

      You make it sound like articles should be posted based on merit or relevance!

      You've got a great sense of humor!
    • The reason the articles are so often distorted is simple. Slashdot editors reject submissions that just provide the facts, and accept articles that are emotionally rousing. A lot of the time, the true story is more fact that emotionally rousing, so the article submission doesn't match.

      This isn't so different from mainstream for-profit news.
  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by sploo22 (748838) <dwahler@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:25PM (#9940419)
    The submitter DID NOT read the article AT ALL, and apparenty neither did the editors.

    First of all, it specifically says that the phone DOES NOT text premium numbers. The problem is NOT a virus; it's not even really a trojan. It's a feature that "calls home" in case it's an unlicensed copy. Not only that, the feature was removed in later versions; the cracked version was older. They got what they deserved.
    • by aallan (68633)

      The submitter DID NOT read the article AT ALL, and apparenty neither did the editors.

      Unfortunately you're wrong, the article on the BBC site has been "updated" since the story was initally posted. The BBC have a tendency to update their articles to correct factual errors, without actually telling you they've done it, or archiving the original (unmodified) article. If you think about it, it's actually quite scary...

      Al.
  • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:26PM (#9940425) Homepage Journal
    I'm still using my telegraph.

    Clickity-click-click!
  • Cell Phone viruses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by !Squalus (258239) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:30PM (#9940453) Homepage
    How droll. As a former AV employee, I wonder just how the hell you are supposed to run AV on something meant for phone calls? This stupidity will never end. Next,, you will need that really cool 3D screen and a better graphics card, and then a patch for that virus, and then a controller, and a patch for that virus....

    Just yesterday I saw an article that said Open Source wasn't ready for Antivirus software. Well - duh! It isn't all that necessary - yet. Most viruses are ineffective on Linux/Unix/BSD/OS/X because of FHS standards, rights and permissions.

    Cell phones that play games are about as useful as the teats on a boar hog (and that is a colloquialism). It's the same old game - sell them a useless but "neat" feature that violates sensible security and then sell them a patch to correct that stupidity that they have to buy and buy and buy.

    If you spend your money that way - it's your choice really, now isn't it?
    • You got it. Have you seen the size of some of these bloated , so called, phones? Might as well go back to the bricks of 15 years ago. Anyone who thinks a phone is a good replacement for a laptop (that is where this is headed) or PDA is a fool. The dinky little screen will never cut it.
    • by argent (18001)
      The requirements for a virus or a worm to spread are (a) a place for the virus to hide, (b) a way for the virus to copy itself to the victim, and (c) a way for the virus to launch on the victim. Note that "bypass local OS security" isn't on this list.

      Client file system protection makes (a) harder, but it doesn't prevent it... I suspect it's impossible in principle to prevent (a) short of running everything in a sandbox that's destroyed when you quit using it. The biggest advantage that open source systems
    • by plumby (179557) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:21PM (#9940952)
      Cell phones that play games are about as useful as the teats on a boar hog

      I love this "I don't want the feature, so it's obviously useless" attitude on Slashdot. Games on phones may be useless to you, but I and, evidently by the number of games purchased, many other people find games on phones useful. I often find myself waiting around somewhere (pub, meeting room, bus etc) and carrying very little in the way of entertainment except my phone. So being able to have a quick game of chess, or whatever, is a great way to pass the time.

      Sure it's something I could live without (as is pretty much every gadget that I own), but that doesn't mean it's not useful.

  • i know i (you) have heard it many times: network it and it'll never be 100% secure.

    This on the tail of the viop spam-fest looming; yeah, fun times ahead for phones. i can't wait for the convoluted, mostly-useless, loophole-for-biz laws that will follow all of this once lawmaker's underlings get wind of it.(you don't really believe most lawmakers have a clue about the tech-laws they pass do you?)

    bah! i need a firewall for my phone now as well!!?? heh, i'm sure there'll be plenty of money made for lots o
    • heh, yeah, that's new to me too...make that voip ;-) i need my coffee dammit!

      ...which i just got up and made durring mah 2 min repost wait! heh.
  • by digital photo (635872) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:33PM (#9940482) Homepage Journal

    Well, either the original article was changed or the article poster didn't really read the article to being with. :( In either case, that's kinda sad.

    • Trojan, not virus.
    • No destruction ensues.
    • Not premium numbers.
    • Trojan was not added by crackers or even a malicious writer, but was an anti-piracy feature.

    Though I'd thought that the crackers would have spotted their cracked software doing something unintended...

    Interesteding historical tidbit... the Pakistani Brain virus was written with a similar anti-piracy intent in mind. Though that was a virus and spread destructively. This is just a trojan which is annoying.

    If a writer really wanted to be destructive, they would have overwritten the Symbian OS boot code and firmware loading codes and executed a phone reboot. (nevermind the sim card and access to other data cards inserted into the phone)

    Kinda makes me reconsider getting a more powerful phone... :(

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe it will convince someone that there is a market for cell phones that actually let you send and receive calls.
  • by rokzy (687636) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:37PM (#9940524)
    I advise you to turn off automatic MMS download if you have not already done so.

    Orange sends crap to your phone such as trailers for Catwoman.

    The "do not download if bigger than x kb" defaults to 100k but Orange will send 99.9Kb files to bypass this.

    Once again the best thing is to deactivate automatic downloads of messages.
  • Out of date already. (Score:3, Informative)

    by CountBrass (590228) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:44PM (#9940580)

    The Reg has the correct story [theregister.co.uk]. In short, it was deliberately done by the developers of Mosquito as a crappy kind of copy protection: copy our software and we'll send SMS messages to premium rate numbers. Now someone tell me this isn't illegal...
  • Poor design. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by emeitner (513842) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#9940674) Homepage Journal
    They should never allow user software to access the dialing functions. Maybe there needs to be a user/OS partition in the phone so that untrusted software has to run in a small sandbox. The last thing we need is some malware disguised as a cute toy DOSing 911 numbers on a specific day.
    It would be simple to have a popup dialog that would ask the user if they want to allow the app to dial a number.
  • The lawyers just on principle and the reporters for this kind of fabrication.

    It ain't a bloody virus. It ain't even a trojan. It is just piece of malware. It doesn't alter the OS, it doesn't install itself and run always. It just dials phone numbers while you are playing the game. A pirated hacked game.

    Geez when I was young we had real virusses. They infected your machine and the simple act of sharing a floppy would make you catch it. Removing it was hell as any program installed would be infected as well

  • by UfoZ (680310) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:10PM (#9940846) Homepage
    A good feature for Symbian OS would be a sort of "mobile firewall" for user-installed applications, that notifies you before allowing random programs to do things like place calls, send messages or connect to the net (things that cost you money). If the program you're using is legitimate and you're aware of this, a simple OK would authorize the program to do that particular action (say, send an SMS). If the user said no, then the program's request would fail at the API level, no harm done.

    It would prevent this sort of unfortunate situation from happening, because, who knows, the next piece of malware like this might install itsself to run all the time and pump out calls or messages, disable uninstallation or wreak any other sort of havoc.

    Of course, in the end it all boils down to the end user's stupidity in installing and running untrusted programs, but a safety measure like this would be a good "last chance" before any actual monetary damage is done.
  • by billsf (34378) <billsf AT cuba DOT calyx DOT nl> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:16PM (#9940897) Homepage Journal
    How history repeats. The Pakistani Brain is said to be the first virus 'in the wild' and it is a true virus. Another form of illegal copy protection was tried by a rather respected engineering software company. If you forgot the dongle, the whole LAN (except for the Unix machines) slowed down to a snail's pace. The solution was to re-install Windows95. Even for a small company this was very expensive. The vendor offered a non-protected version to make up for this. They hopefully removed what was probably the first true Windows virus. (True viruses are _extremely_ rare.)

    Is there any question who to sue? Any use of malware for copy protection is unjustified and clearly in violation of the law in most places. This kind of crap has been tried before and it never benefits anyone.
  • by richardbowers (143034) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:26PM (#9940997)
    According to the Register [theregister.co.uk], the number dialing out of the game Mosquitos isn't a trojan using the game, it is the game. Some brilliant developer thought this was a good way to punish people who pirate the game, and they built it in as a feature.

  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:37PM (#9941097) Journal
    Of course all fingers will be pointing at the authors, and even though they are assholes, the real problem is not in this 'virus' its in the the phone or the OS - it simply should not be letting add-on software have access to the sms functions! its just like the whole outlook crap. Lets say you give your plane passengers a network they can plug their laptops into to use the net, you dont then connect that network to the planes' own bloody computers and let anyone have access to the "flying the plane" functionaliy, its just stupid and if you did that and someone plugged in their laptop and said "hey look at this, i think ill fly this plane and crash it" as much of an asshole as they are it would still be your fault. This sort of stupidity has to stop - sue the people responsible.

You are in the hall of the mountain king.

Working...