Virus makes leap from PC to PDA

"Crossover" is the first virus found that can jump to a mobile device after infecting a PC, security researchers say.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
2 min read
A group of security researchers claims to have found the first virus that can jump to a mobile device after infecting a PC.

The malicious software, dubbed "Crossover," was sent anonymously to the Mobile Antivirus Researchers Association, the group said in a statement released on Monday. The virus is a proof-of-concept bug and was not released in the wild, meaning that it doesn't pose an actual risk for PC and device users.

"Crossover is the first malware to be able to infect both a Windows desktop computer as well as a PDA running Windows Mobile for Pocket PC," the research group said.

When executed, the virus checks what type of machine it is running on. If it is a Windows PC, it will jump to a handheld device as soon as it detects a connection using Microsoft's ActiveSync synchronization software. When running on a portable OS, it will erase all the files in the "My Documents" folder and copy itself to the startup folder.

The virus could also hurt the performance of the Windows PC because it re-creates itself each time the PC is started. This can mean a user will end up running so many copies that it bogs down the PC.

Malicious software already was able to jump from a smart phone to a PC. Security firm F-Secure last September found a Trojan horse that attempts to spread from smart phones to users' PCs, marking one of the first cases of virus "cross-sharing" between the two devices.

The Mobile Antivirus Researchers Association said it will make detailed analysis and the "Crossover" virus file available to antivirus companies and select security experts. F-Secure said Tuesday on its blog that it hasn't seen a sample of Crossover yet.