Russian antivirus software maker Kaspersky Labs Ltd. says it has verified the first worm designed to infect mobile phones.
Named Cabir, the worm infects mobile phones running the Symbian operating system, Kaspersky said in an alert. Cabir appears to be a so-called "proof of concept" worm, and Kaspersky says it hasn't detected any signs that the worm is spreading.
According to Kaspersky, Cabir propagates as a Symbian operating system distribution file, or SIS file, but is disguised to appear as a Caribe Security Manager utility. The worm will display the word "Caribe" on the screen of infected phones.
Similar to old-fashioned boot-sector viruses, Cabir will activate each time the phone is started, scan to nearby Bluetooth-enabled phones, and then transmit a copy of itself to the first phone it reaches.
Virus researchers have long warned that more types of malicious software will be aimed at handheld devices and mobile phones as the operating systems in these devices increased in complexity.
Antivirus and security experts don't expect to see Cabir successfully spread in the wild because of the close proximity required for Bluetooth.