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Messages that spell doom for cellphones

Vidyashree Amaresh

Some most-modern features in `smart' gadgets can bring disaster A brainchild of organised troublemakers


  • Mobile `malware' infects a phone with viruses and trojans
  • Viruses can spread over long distances via popular messaging services
  • With a surge in the downloading of ring tones and MMS, worms have found their way to handsets


    Bangalore: Malicious SMS content is a new worry for cellphone users and service providers. Often, it is the brainchild of organised troublemakers, not tech-savvy teenagers.

    Features in mobile phones which enable one to browse the net and download applications bring disaster often enough. Hence, service providers who offer direct access to the Internet are trying to find ways to ensure safe and secure browsing. Mobile filters provide content security solutions for companies which provide value-added services. They block harmful software in the network before they enter phones.

    According to sources in F-Secure Mobile Security Solutions, mobile "malware" infects a phone with viruses, trojans and worms that can cause substantial damage to smart-phones. The viruses seem to go global in minutes. Worms, trojans and viruses affecting cellphones can spread over long distances via popular messaging services in combination with other transmission techniques.

    This opens up the prospect for wide outbreaks.

    According to the Wireless World Forum, there are nearly 50 million mobile phone subscribers in India. With a surge in the downloading of ring tones and MMS, "mobile worms" have found their way to handsets. It has been found that the level of knowledge about mobile phone viruses is low even among users who are supposed to be tech savvy.

    "People refuse to mistrust messages and are often deceived. The result: infected handsets. Viruses that are known to replicate via MMS are spread through audio, video or images, which are passed on from one phone to another," says C.S. Rajeshwar, technical consultant, Microland.

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