Nokia phones struck by Skulls virus

Finnish security company F-Secure says it has received reports of Nokia phone users being infected with the Skulls virus – an attack that replaces all of the icons for the operating system with images of skulls that, if clicked on, lead nowhere.

Nokia phones struck by Skulls virus

Indeed the Skulls virus is a Trojan that will render the Symbian operating system, used on Nokia’s high-end smartphones, useless.

It is billed as a Trojan as it purports to be a theme manager for the Nokia 7610, and so might tempt victims into installing it believing they are giving their phone a new look. Symbian says the Skulls virus might also affect other phones using the Series 60 Symbian platform.

Once installed, the Extended theme.sis file subsequently ‘installs critical System ROM binaries into C: drive in with exact same names and locations as in the ROM drive,’ says F-Secure. All the Symbian application icons are replaced with Skulls, and the device will only function as a phone, it says. Symbian however says that even this functionality will be stopped if Skulls is installed.

F-Secure says that Skulls has infected low numbers of end users who have downloaded ‘Extended Theme Manager’ by ‘Tee-222’ from Symbian shareware sites. It has published updates to its AV software to defend against infection from Skulls, but that unless you have a third-party file manager installed ‘recovery could get tricky’.

Symbian has said that the Skulls file no longer appears to be in distribution and that it remains unclear whether the file was written with malicious intent or whether a result of poor programming skills. It says it is investigating the matter and will provide updates as soon as possible.

More information is available at the F-Secure website.

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