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Risk

7/16/2009
10:16 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
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Anti-Virus Firms Investigating Sexy-View Smartphone Worm

In yet another example of how mobile malware is gaining momentum, a new variant of the Wily worm is making the rounds. It's spreading through text messages and researchers warn it may be a smartphone botnet in the making.

In yet another example of how mobile malware is gaining momentum, a new variant of the Wily worm is making the rounds. It's spreading through text messages and researchers warn it may be a smartphone botnet in the making.The attack spreads by appearing as a legit Symbian phone application, only users get dialed into a Trojan that pilfers subscriber, phone, and network information, and transmits that data to a Website. And, in keeping with the tradition of old-school mass-mailer Outlook worms, it spams SMS messages to the contact's in the user's phone. Nice.

And this bugger appears to be a signed app, so users are much more likely to get infected with only once click needed to authorize installation. And, as Gartner security analyst John Pescatore points out today in his post Myth of The Responsible User, we can't really rely on users to always do the right thing.

It seems this "Sexy View/Sexy Space" does something of an update, or attempts to update, upon network connection. And it's that characteristic that has researchers thinking it may be a botnet.

From today's Dark Reading:

The so-called Sexy View/Sexy Space malware has researchers split over whether to officially call it a botnet. While Trend Micro says it's indeed a smartphone botnet, F-Secure is less convinced. "It's almost a stretch to call it a botnet, or at least a botnet in the sense that we normally think of them," says Patrik Runald, chief security advisor for F-Secure, which reported the first version of the worm to Symbian in February.

While the worm is able to update the SMS template it uses while spreading, it doesn't have other bot features, he says. "When we think of botnets, we think of a malicious program that calls home for further instructions," such as updating malware, attacking a Website, sending email, or installing an application, he says. "Sexy View does one of those features, which is the ability to update the SMS template it uses when spreading...But Sexy View doesn't have any of the other features we normally take for granted in a bot. So although it can be called a botnet, it's a very simple one with very limited, for now at least, functionality."

If you combine the capability of a worm like this with comprimised, and widely followed Twitter or Facebook accounts, we're off to the races.

I mean, really, who can refuse a Sexy View?

If you'd like to follow my mobile security and technology observations, you can find me (malware-free) on Twitter.

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