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Skulls: is it a malware for Symbian based devices or not?
Posted on 24-Nov-2004 22:50 | Tags Filed under: News



Symbian downplayed current reports of a new malware developed specifically for smartphone devices based on Series 60, a platform developed by Nokia and based on the Symbian OS. The so-called Skulls malware was being distributed as a extended theme for a Nokia smartphone, the Nokia 7610, although it can actually infect any mobile phone based on the Series 60 platform.

The program replaces the system applications with non-functional versions, so that all but the phone functionality will be disabled. All application icons are replaced with the picture of a skull and cross bones.

On a press release published on its website, Symbian says "It is unclear if the adverse effects of this software are the result of deliberate development (a trojan) or an inadvertent side-effect of poor software programming." It continues to say "The suspected malware is targeted at the Nokia 7610 but may affect some other phones using the Series 60 User Interface. Symbian OS phones using the UIQ user interface platform (Sony Ericsson, Motorola, BenQ, Arima) or the NTT DoCoMo FOMA platform (Fujitsu) are believed to be unaffected by this malware. The suspected trojan has been reported as being distributed as a zipped file called 7610.extended.theme.manager.zip."

Symbian correctly says that "To be affected by the malware requires a phone user to deliberately install it as an application onto their phone. The malware cannot be installed without repeated user intervention, including ignoring a security warning. The malware does not appear to have the ability to distribute itself to other phones."

Aaron Davidson, CEO for Simworks, a New Zealand based company that specialises in writing mobile applications, including an 127965 anti-virus program for Symbian devices says "To claim that the application may not be malware at all is not credible in light of the analysis of the files installed on phones undertaken by ourselves (SimWorks) and other anti-virus companies. The author of the skulls trojan has embedded numerous messages including an invitation to send him/her a copy of the Cabir virus (presumably to learn how to spread files via Bluetooth), a warning that further versions of the application will be released and a number of short sometimes contradictory statements such as "Why do T-VIRUS created? Cuz i love you so much :)" and "Why do T-VIRUS belongs in this world? Cuz i hate you very much :)".

He continues to say "It's difficult to think of a legitimate reason to develop an application to effectively disable all of the icons on a persons phone."



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