Get ready for a wave of zombie mobile phones, as security company Symantec reveals the first SMS virus that can set up a full-scale bot-net.
SymbOS.Exy.C is a Symbian virus spread that connects infected phones to a central malicious server.
This is the first step to a bot-net, where remote criminals can muster an army of infected smartphones to distribute spam, steal personal information or conduct cyber attacks.
The virus is spread by text messages that prompt users to download a programme called Sexy Space. When installed, this sends back information on infected phone, including model name and the unique IMEI identification code. Symantec is trying to establish whether it also downloads any other personal files.
SymbOS.Exy.C is smart enough to defend itself; shutting down utility software like App Manager and Task Spy to make it difficult for a user to prevent the virus from propagating itself. Previous versions of the SymbOS.Exy.C virus have targeted Chinese users, but the latest version also has an English language version.
Symbian OS phones account for around half of all smartphones sold. Theoretically, a sufficiently large mobile phone bot-net could disrupt phone networks by flooding them with text messages, or be used to infiltrate and crack corporate wireless networks.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that one in four computers in the US is running some form of malware.
Via New Scientist.