A new version of the Skulls smartphone virus has begun to appear on various cellphone download sites. Infected users risk losing all of the data on their phones.
Security firm F-Secure issued a directive earlier this week on the new Skulls.D Trojan. Skulls.D masks itself as a new version of Macromedia’s popular Flash animation player for Symbian Series 60 phones – which also includes a number of Nokia smartphones.
The virus also puts a version of the SymbOS/Cabir.M worm on the phone and disables system apps and data.
The original virus killed applications and replaced their icons with a skull image. Affected phones display a flashing picture of a skull and includes the text “WARNING!!! Device Have been Attact By Virus”.
F-Secure has said that their Mobile Anti-Virus was already “capable of detecting the Skulls.D with generic detection even before we got the first sample of this from a customer.
F-Secure Mobile Anti-Virus is also capable of detecting Cabir.M, contained in Skulls.
Infected, users can either install anti-virus software to disinfect the phone or return their equipment to factory settings, which will destroy their personal data.
F-Secure said it has only had reports of Skulls.D from two people, whose phones were infected after they downloaded an application from a Web forum. Phone owners can reduce the risk of infection by exercising caution, said Mikko Hypponen, the director of antivirus research at F-Secure, which has posted an advisory.
“Be careful about what you download and where you download it from,” Hypponen said. “You are most at risk if you are downloading illegal copies of applications, especially from peer-to-peer networks.”
Hypponen warned there are likely to be more Skulls in the future. “We are waiting for the next variant,” he said.