Mobile Viruses- Have They Arrived?


By

Pathik B. Variya
Lecturer
Shree Leuva Patel Trust MBA Mahila College
Amreli
E-mail:
pathikvariya@yahoo.com
 


***Background***

The era of Mobile Banking and SMS marketing has arrived. At this juncture, when computers and mobile are becoming synonyms, let us try to have a "vision" into the future and have a look at how the start of mobile virus can spread!

***Introduction***

Today, the world is on our fingertips. We have Internet, which is regarded as YOUR WINDOW TO THE WORLD. We have Computers….something; I need not elaborate much about! But, as Isaac Asimov says, "In human affairs we have reached a point where the problems that we must solve are no longer solvable without the aid of the computers. I fear not computers but the lack of them." Now the time has come when, the Internet technology, the mobile/cell phones and the computers are not going to be regarded as SEPARATE entities anymore!

***Mobile Viruses are coming…***

*HOW AND WHY THEY ARE HERE?

Recently, I received some 100 continuous messages from an unknown number. Whenever I opened the sms, or try to read it, my Nokia 3315 hanged….and then restarted after a few minutes. I was astonished to see this kind of behaviour of my mobile, but when I asked an expert, he said it is a mobile virus!!!

Tomorrow's mobiles will serve as computers and vice versa, so their problems will be similar in nature also. One of such problems may be the presence of Mobile Virus………Scared? Don't worry; it will take some time before this kind of viruses ESTABLISHES themselves!!!

Actually the interconnectivity among the devices like computers and mobiles lead to this kind of problems.

Think: what does a virus code writer want? The answer is simple that he/she wants that his/her virus should affect as large of the community as possible. That is the reason why Microsoft's applications have been a favourite target for the malicious code writers.

The same way, the use of mobile is increasing. So, naturally, the mobile is the next target of this kind of programmers.

By 2005 anti-virus experts expect that customers of one or more mobile networks will have been struck by a malicious program designed to exploit security failings on portable devices. Anti-virus firms caution telecommunication operators and handset makers to prepare now how they will deal with any outbreak to avoid the crippling financial and public relations costs of subjecting customers to a virus.

Some of the networks provide services that make it possible for the customers to be always online on the net through their mobile devices i.e. they are enabled to receive the text messages/emails etc. for 24 hours through Internet. As for example, (Hutch, Airtel etc. in India) once you register your mobile device with Yahoo Messenger, it will always show you online-"I am on SMS", would be the message. This kind of arrangements can be very handy for someone who is looking to use Internet for spreading the virus on cell phones.

The risk will increase when the devices will be able to perform commands automatically.

In short, the more are the facilities, the greater are the risks!

*SOME INCIDENTS

One of the most serious outbreaks took place in Japan in June 2000. Users received a prank e-mail asking them to click on the enclosed web link. Every time someone opened the link it dialed 119, the number of the Japanese emergency services which was swiftly inundated with calls.

The virus, called "Timofonica," is reported to be "in the wild" in Spain, where customers of the phone company Movistar have been hit with annoying computer-generated phone calls, according to the antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab. The virus type, known as a worm, targets phones that use the European GSM mobile standard. the worm sends a message to a so-called short messaging service (SMS) gateway that sends a text message to phone users. The worm randomly generates phone numbers targeting the "corio.movistar.net" SMS gate. Every time the worm is forwarded to a new address, it sends a new SMS message to a randomly selected number, thus bombarding people with SMS messages.

*WHAT CAN WE DO?

Stop using the new technology! Use old mobiles models and you shall not be affected by any virus! But, this is not a practical solution, is it?

The correct way to stop viruses is at key points on the network--at the wireless gateway, for example. Such a solution would also save handheld users from having to place memory-hungry antivirus tools on their cellular phones.

*CONCLUSION

As the time goes, we shall have devices with more and more A.I.(Artificial Intelligence). But, they will be more vulnerable to virus attacks also! In future, you may be having an anti virus for your refrigerator, one for your TV, one for your mobile and so on…!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2690253.stm
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/10/15/itu.security/
http://www.vnunet.com/News/1102684
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030210/login/main10.htm
http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/mobile.htm
http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/mobile-phone-hoax.html

(The writer is a lecturer. The college is: Shree Leuva Patel Trust MBA Mahila College, Amreli, Gujarat]
 


Pathik B. Variya
Lecturer
Shree Leuva Patel Trust MBA Mahila College
Amreli
E-mail:
pathikvariya@yahoo.com
 

Source: E-mail September 10, 2005

  

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