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Hybrid Trojan horse aims at Symbian phones

Malicious program disguises itself as a video game, but it could mean "game over" for infected cell phones.

MetalGear.A isn't the type of surprise gift cell phone users are looking for this holiday season.

The Trojan horse combines several malicious mobile phone programs that work to spread over Symbian-based phones, antivirus-software maker SimWorks said in a release published Tuesday. The program, camouflaged as a version of the game "Metal Gear Solid," will disable antivirus programs, including SimWorks, as well as other programs, the company said. The attack also installs a version of the Cabir virus, which spreads through the Bluetooth short-range wireless protocol, the firm said.

Photo: SimWorks
Disguised as a video game,
the MetalGear program disables
antivirus software on mobile
phones and attempts to replicate.

If the user opens the fake MetalGear program, Cabir will run and try to use Bluetooth to reach other phones through another file, SEXXXY.sis, SimWorks stated.

To date, Trojan horses and proto-viruses aimed at smart phones have mostly failed to spread. In a few cases, Cabir.a has managed to jump from phone to phone using Bluetooth. However, Cabir's spread--and the spread of all phone viruses--is severely curtailed by the need for users to accept and install the programs.

One program, Skulls, would change all the icons on a phone to skulls, but also corrupt the phone's programs. In August, the Mosquito program drew little blood.