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BlackBerry phones under virus attack

PTI Mar 14, 2011, 11.32am IST

Trend Micro|BlackBerry

(The trojan can view, delete…)

NEW DELHI: Research In Motion's BlackBerry operating system is world-renowned as being virtually impossible to exploit, but a new study has exposed a virus that specifically targets SMSes sent using the high-end smartphones' Messenger service.

According to security solutions firm Trend Micro, a 'trojan' virus, dubbed Zeus -- which appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to run or install, but steals information or harms the system -- appears to specifically target BlackBerry's SMS feature.

The aim of the Zeus Trojan is to monitor users' private information, particularly when they conduct mobile online banking transactions. Once installed, Zeus sends a confirmation message to the hackers that transmitted the virus to signal that it is ready to receive commands.

After the confirmation message, the trojan can view, delete and forward SMSes, block calls, change the administrator on the device and block phone numbers. It sends all data on the phone to the hacker in the event that it gets shut down.

"As more users access the Internet from the expanding pool of devices, web-based threats will continue to grow in size. The growth of smartphones and faster data speeds will also increase the possibilities of infection. As criminals devise ways to make money out of exploiting mobile technologies, mobile users will grow extremely vulnerable," Trend Micro Country Manager India and SAARC Amit Nath said.

He further said that with the growing diversity of operating systems among companies, as well as the growing use of mobile devices, cybercriminals could have a very profitable 2011.

Their tactic will be to put a new spin on social engineering by way of malware campaigns, bombarding recipients with emails that drop downloaders containing malware. All this will largely be made possible because of the Internet.

Variants of the Zeus trojan have been previously detected on Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems, exhibiting similar behaviour.

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