BlackBerry phones hit by ZeuS Trojan virus

If you thought your phone is virus-proof, think again. There is a virus on the block that has started affecting all BlackBerry devices. And the worse part is that an user will never know whether her phone has been affected or not. 

Amit Nath, country manager, India and SAARC at Trend Micro, claims researchers at the firm were alerted to the discovery of a ZeuS Trojan specifically targeting BlackBerry users. It aims to monitor users' private information especially when they conduct mobile banking, says Nath. 

"It does not display any graphical user interface that can prompt users about the infection. Instead, it removes itself from the list of applications. The virus can view, delete and forward text messages, block calls, change the administrator on the device and block phone numbers. It allows the hacker to change the telephone number the device sends all the data to in the event that it gets shut down," he said. 

"Although there is no definite data on how many phones have been hit, we are sure it is spreading fast even in India. However, as users mostly don't get to know they have been infected, it's difficult to fix a number. We have detected instances of the virus on our clients' networks. This virus have the capability of spreading on its own and infecting phones that do not have anti-virus software installed," Nath points out. 
Jagannath Patnaik, director, channel sales south Asia at Kaspersky Lab , says: "There has been a new wave of malware attack that has started affecting BlackBerry and it has originated from Poland. The aim is to extract banking passwords." 

An email sent to Research In Motion , manufacturers of BlackBerry phones, went unanswered despite repeated reminders. 
Trend Micro Researchers, the ZeuS Trojan is capable of blocking calls, registering a new administrator, adding and removing sender, switch the phone on or off remotely and, most important, hiding text messages and sending it to the hacker without the user's knowledge. 

Abhijit Limaye, director, development at Symantec, said: "BlackBerry has a reputation as being a secure platform. However, it is still susceptible to malware threats and has issued advice documentation for customers to minimise risks. They have also released software applications to help customers protect their data." Vinoo Thomas, technical product manager at McAfee Labs , said: "While Trojan virus can replicate and spread on its own, there are a few spyware that needs to be loaded manually. One can buy the spyware programs like MobiSpy, MobiStelath and FlexiSpy for between $40 and $80." 

One reason for infection could be downloading of out-of-box applications on a BlackBerry. Zaki Qureshi, a professional ethical hacker, said: "BlackBerry phones have high security features, but if users instal out-of-the-box applications, chances of infection rises."


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