Windows Mobile Viruses in the Wild

When I got my T-Mobile Dash a couple of years ago, I toyed with getting an anti-virus program for it. After doing some research, I discarded the notion; although proof-of-concept existed, there was no indication that there was anything in the wild for Windows or any other phone operating system.

That is no longer the case. Reuters reports that two Windows mobile viruses hidden in games are in the wild affecting Windows smartphones. These are like those modem dialer viruses that were common before broadband became prevalent; they dialed premium phone numbers owned by the viruses spreaders, often in other countries, and made money by filling your phone bill with extra third-party charges.

From the Reuters story:

The games — 3D Anti-Terrorist and PDA Poker Art — are available on sites that provide legitimate software for mobile devices, according to John Hering, CEO of San Francisco-based firm Lookout.

The games are bundled with malicious software that automatically dials premium-rate telephone services in Somalia, Italy and other countries, sometimes ringing up hundreds of dollars in charges in a single month.

I know longer have my Dash; I have an Android G1. I trust the inherent Linux security model more than the inherent Windows security model. I note also that these two pieces of malware did not invade the phones; as games, they had to be downloaded.

Nevertheless, all my Linux computers have anti-virus software and firewalls and I am again considering getting an anti-virus program for my phone.

Smartphones are becoming a significant enough market segment to attract the bad guys’ attention.

Full Disclosure: I know nothing about the security model for Windows Mobile 7 (or whatever Microsoft is calling it today). All I know is Microsoft’s track record.

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