Anti-virus companies have reported the first mobile virus in the wild that uses the multi-media messaging service (MMS) technology.
The CommWarrior virus is slowly infecting mobile phones that use the Symbian operating system, with mobile phones from Nokia, the brand leader that uses the systme, the common target.
MMS is used on both 2.5G and 3G networks to deliver multi-media content such as ring-tones, photos, music and video clips.
As mobiles become more sophisticated to handle such applications, they are becoming a greater target for virus-writers.
Both F-Secure and McAfee have reported instances of the virus, which is contained in a message attachment sent over mobile networks.
Once installed, CommWarrior starts sending out other infected MMS messages to users contained in the infected phone’s address book.
Last year the Cabir mobile virus emerged but its infection rate was curtailed because it could only be spread via Bluetooth short-range wireless connectivity from one user to another. CommWarrior can also spread via Bluetooth.
Once discovered, phone owners can use management tools on their phones to remove CommWarrior.
F-Secure, which sells mobile anti-virus software, has developed a signature to block the worm.