We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,088 News Articles

New mobile phone virus spreads two ways

Lasco.A attaches to files and hunts victims on Bluetooth

A Brazilian virus writer has unleashed a new mobile phone virus, called Lasco.A, that is capable of spreading both through the short-range wireless Bluetooth technology and by attaching itself to files, according to the Finnish antivirus company F-Secure.

"This is the first time we have come across a mobile phone virus that has two spreading mechanisms," said Mikko Hypp"nen, director of antivirus research at F-Secure.

The virus affects mobile phones running the Symbian operating system with Nokia's Series 60 interface.

The Lasco.A virus will copy itself inside all SIS (Symbian Installation System) files, which are used to install applications, such as games, according to Hypp"nen. The virus is activated when users click on the SIS file and install it on their phones.

Users can catch the virus unknowingly by swapping files, such as games, among themselves, according to Hypp"nen. "They can swap files by beaming data to each other's handsets with Bluetooth and infrared or by using memory cards and even cables," he said.

The malware also acts like a worm by scanning Bluetooth-enabled phones in the vicinity and attempting to pass on the corrupt file to others, according to Hypp"nen. In this case, however, handset owners must often accept the file from unknown users.

Unlike the Skulls Trojan horse, which displays skulls on displays of infected phones, Lasco.A gives few signs that phones are infected. "Short battery life is probably the most evident indicator," Hypp"nen said. "The infected SIS files are larger but most users won't spot this. Prompting during installation is also different but, again, most users will think this is part of normal installation."

So far, Lasco.A is proof-of-concept virus only, according to Hypp"nen. "We have received no reports," he said. "However, we think this virus will end up in the wild because someone, eventually, will download it, and this virus has the potential to spread very quickly."

To protect their handsets, users should set them to hidden Bluetooth mode, and not discoverable mode, F-Secure recommends on its website: www.f-secure.com


IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: Microsoft teases new OS ahead of 30 September unveiling

IDG UK Sites

From the iPhone 6 to the iWatch and a new Apple TV we look at the products Apple is set to launch...

IDG UK Sites

September 2014 creative trends: 5 things you must see

IDG UK Sites

The 7 most ridiculous iPhone 6 rumours: what Apple WON'T reveal on 9 September