Trojan Horse Charges PDAs

The world of viruses finally reached out and touched handheld computers
Thursday with Symantec and Kaspersky Labs reporting a backdoor Trojan horse
program that can take control over a mobile device.

The program, known as Backdoor.Brador.A, attacks PDAs running the Windows CE
operating system. Once installed, the program activates when the PDA is
restarted and begins to search for a remote administrator to take control of
the machine.

In a security alert, Symantec calls Brador the first known Windows Mobile
backdoor Trojan horse. The security firm says the program, like all
backdoors, cannot spread by itself. Backdoors arrive as an e-mail attachment
and must be downloaded from the Internet.

“We’re not seeing it widely and its only effected a very, very small number
of systems,” Oliver Friedrichs, a senior manager for Symantec’s security
response team. “The significance is that it is the first to attack CE

Friedrichs said it is hardly surprising that viruses would make their way to
mobile devices.

“It’s a natural trend. Where technology goes, viruses will follow,” he said.
“The perception is that as new technology moves into the mobile market,
these threats will move in that direction also.”

Kaspersky Labs said Brador was probably written by a Russian virus coder
since it was attached to an e-mail with a Russian sender address and
contained Russian text.

Eugene Kaspersky, head of anti-virus research at Kaspersky
Labs, was expecting a PDA attack given the recent attacks against other mobile devices.

“We were certain that a viable malicious program for PDAs would appear soon
after the first proof of concept viruses emerged for mobile phones and
Windows Mobile,” said Kaspersky in a statement. “[The program] is a full-scale malicious program
ready to go; unlike proof of concept malware, Brador has a complete set of
destructive functions typical for backdoors.”

The Russian security firm added that the author is
offering to sell the client portion of Brador to all interested parties,
increasing the likelihood the backdoor will be used commercially.

“PDA users face a real danger and we can be sure that the computer
underground will snatch at the chance to attack PDAs and mobile phones in
the near future,” Kaspersky said. “Malware development for mobiles is
passing through the same stages as malware for desktops. We’ll probably see
a serious outbreak of viruses for handhelds sometime soon.”

Symantec, which rated Brador’s threat containment and removal as “easy,” has
its database to deal with the virus.

Last month, Kaspersky Labs detected
the first computer virus spreading via cell phone networks.

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