Feature

Birth of the mobile virus



Virus writers have targeted mobile phones and are threatening to disrupt the delivery of SMS messages, warns international anti-virus software development organisation, Kaspersky Lab.

Christened the 'SMS-Flooder' by its creator, 'HSE', the harmful program was discovered recently in Germany and is said to be capable of flooding mobile phones with repetitive messages sent to selected telephone numbers.

According to the company, the program is written in MS Visual Basic 5.0 and utilises the public "canals" in mobile phone networks to transmit the nuisance text.

"What the code does is allow the user to create an SMS message and then forward this in any volume to any mobile phone numbers and in any gateways he wishes," explains Kirill Zhuchkov, business development manager at Kaspersky Lab's Moscow office. "This can then flood the network and interfere with mobile phone users receiving other messages."

Kaspersky Lab specialists have classified the program as a 'malicious code' rather than as a virus because the program itself is not dangerous, does not perform any destructive action and is not capable of replication.

And while it appears at present to be confined to German gateways, Zhuchkov confirms that the company is concerned the source code will be published in hacker groups and may prompt others to write new applications for the program outside of Germany.

For mobile users experiencing floods of messages on their phones, Zhuchkov advises contacting the mobile operator as an initial step so that the company can either block its gateway or take action to prevent spam from affecting other users.

Because "a good virus is a dead virus", Kaspersky Lab has added details for the detection and neutralisation of the program to its anti-virus protection website.


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This was first published in August 2000

 

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