Triple Trojan Threat Calls on Symbian Cell Phones

Anti-virus researchers at Symantec have detected a new batch of Trojans spreading via Bluetooth on Symbian smart-phone devices.

Anti-virus vendors have detected a new batch of Trojans spreading on Symbian Ltd. smart-phone devices.

According to definitions from Symantec Corp., the latest malware samples are capable of seriously disrupting the operations on Bluetooth-enabled Symbian devices.

The Symbian operating system powers some cell phone models manufactured by Nokia, Siemens AG, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Motorola Inc. and Panasonic Corp. of North America.

The first Trojan, identified as SymbOS.Sendtool.A, drops a hack tool that can be used to send malicious programs, such as variants of the SymbOS.PBStealer family of Trojans, to other mobile devices via Bluetooth.

The Trojan horse virus arrives on the compromised device as "Fspreader.SIS." If the user opens this .sis file, the device installer displays a dialog box to warn the user that the application may be coming from an untrusted source and may cause potential problems.

/zimages/5/28571.gifAre cell phone viruses a real threat or mostly hype? Click here to read more.

Symantec also raised an alert for SymbOS.Pbstealer.D, a Trojan that sends the users contact information database, Notepad and Calendar To Do list to other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

/zimages/5/28571.gifFor advice on how to secure your network and applications, as well as the latest security news, visit Ziff Davis Internets Security IT Hub.

A third Trojan, SymbOS.Bootton.E, is capable of restarting the mobile device when executed. However, Symantec said it also drops corrupted components that may make it difficult to restart the smart phone.

Viruses and Trojans carried via Symbian-powered cell phones are not new. Last year, the source code for the Cabir worm was released into the wild, leading to newer and more potent versions.

However, security analysts remain unconvinced that the risk is high enough to justify the current heavy investments in mobile security products by anti-virus vendors.

On security discussion forums, there have even been suggestions that research firms are overblowing the threat to create an artificial market for cell phone anti-virus software.

Security vendors Symantec, Trend Micro Inc., McAfee Inc., F-Secure and Kaspersky Lab have all invested in mobile anti-virus products offering real-time, on-device protection.

/zimages/5/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.