Wireless worm appears

A newly detected worm spreads among mobile phones using the Bluetooth wireless technology, according to security firm F-Secure.

Called Cabir, the worm targets phones that use the Symbian Ltd. Series 60 operating system, according to F-Secure officials. When a user unwittingly installs the worm on a phone, the malicious code activates and starts looking for other Bluetooth devices to infect. It sends itself as a file called caribe.sis, which the user must accept and install to activate the worm.

Cabir is the first mobile phone virus to be detected, according to F-Secure officials. Although it does not appear to cause any damage, it shows that virus writers have the ability to attack phones, said Matias Impivaara, business manager of mobile security services at F-Secure.

"If a person with an infected phone was walking through a city center during the busiest afternoon jam, thousands of others could be infected," Impivaara said. F-Secure officials tested the worm in the company's "bomb shelter," a secure room, to keep it from spreading, he said.

"I've never heard of anything like that before, but I do think it's a serious threat," said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting Inc. "Agencies more and more are looking to wireless as a way to add redundancy and survivability to their networks. A threat like this could be very serious."

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