World's first mobile virus hits in Spain

The first computer virus to target mobile phones has been seen in the wild in Spain.

The first computer virus to target mobile phones has been seen in the wild in Spain.

Guy Campos

The Timofonica virus hijacks Microsoft Outlook e-mail systems on computers and sends a Short Messaging Service (SMS) text message to customers of the Spanish phone company Telefonica.

The virus, which comes as a VBS attachment to an e-mail with the subject "Timofonica", enters a randomly generated number at the Web site, which is designed as a gateway to allow Internet users to send text messages to customers of Telefonica's Movistar mobile network. It then calls one number for every e-mail address in the users' Outlook address book.

The e-mail and text messages contain a political statement describing Spanish telephone operator Telefonica as a monopoly.

Although the SMS messages do not cause any damage, the VBS attachment does have a payload that harms PCs and sends e-mails to every address in the Outlook address book.

Jos White, marketing director at virus control company MessageLabs, said, "SMS will never carry a massive virus threat as it is only text and does not carry executable code. But it does expose the vulnerability of mobile networks to virus attacks."

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