RealTime IT News

Kaspersky Lab Reports World's First Mobile Phone Virus

[June 6] Anti-virus software developer Kaspersky Lab reported Tuesday the emergence of what it believes to be the world's first virus to attack mobile phones.

"Timofonica" -- as it is called -- is an Internet worm that is reported to be "in the wild" in Spain where it has been spamming mobile phones connected to Spanish operator Movistar, sending them spurious Short Message Service (SMS) messages.

Like previous worms which have caused millions of dollars worth of damage in recent months, Timofonica spreads via e-mail, sending itself to addresses stored in MS Outlook Address Book.

Every time an infected message is sent, Timofonica sends another message to a randomly-generated address at host correo.movistar.net -- which is a gateway for sending SMS messages to mobile phones.

Kaspersky Lab says the worm can be detected and destroyed using its AntiViral Toolkit Pro (AVP). Routines for squashing the worm have been added to AVP in the regular daily update.

Full technical information is available at Kaspersky Lab's VirusList.com, a comprehensive encyclopedia of computer viruses.

Written in the scripting language Visual Basic Script (VBS), the new worm works only on computers that have Windows Scripting Host (WSH) installed. Both Windows 98 and Windows 2000 install WSH by default.

In most cases, wary users will spot the .vbs file extension of the infected file TIMOFONICA.TXT.vbs -- and be sure to delete the message from both Inbox and Deleted Items in MS Outlook Express. However, if the system settings are incorrectly adjusted the attached file may be displayed simply as an innocent-looking "TIMOFONICA.TXT".

With Internet worms and viruses in the spotlight, Russia-based Kaspersky Lab has prospered, opening offices in the U.K. and South Africa. It now markets its products in over 40 countries.