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RealTime IT News

Vendor Warns of First Wireless Phone Virus

A data security vendor is reporting a new virus that is reportedly the first ever to hit wireless phone users.

F-Secure Corp. said the VBS/Timofonica worm is delivered via an e-mail chain letter similar to the recent "Iloveyou" virus.

"This is the first ever virus to do anything with mobile phones," said Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus research.

He noted that the virus-carrying message originates on desktop systems, then spreads annoying messages to the phones. Like the "iloveyou" virus, VBS/Timofonica uses Microsoft Outlook to spread the messages. In this case, it sends the message to an e-mail-to-GSM gateway in Spain, which then sends the messages randomly to the phones.

The outgoing message from Outlook has the word "TIMOFONICA" in the subject line and has as an attachment a file named TIMOFONICA.TXT.vbs. The text of the message is in Spanish and is critical of the Spanish telecom operator Telfonica, urging users to open the attachment for more information. The word "Timofonica" itself is a joke on Telefonica. "Timo" means trick in Spanish.

F-Secure says there currently is no information on where the virus originated, although F-Secure says it has only received reports of the virus from Spain. The company said that, since the SMS gateway only sends messages to GSM phones using the Telefonica Movistar network, exposure is likely to be limited largely to Spanish users.

For more information on the virus, click here.