Mosquitos smartphone 'Trojan' there by design

An urban myth is born

The Mosquitos Symbian dialler Trojan is not really a Trojan horse after all.

Many news outlets, including ourselves, reported that a "trojanised" version of Mosquitos game for Symbian Series 60 smartphones was circulating online and across P2P networks. Cracked versions of the game secretly sends SMS messages to premium rate numbers, according to reports on various online forums.

Illegal copies of the game display the following message on start-up: "This version has been cracked by SODDOM BIN LOADER No rights reserved. Pirate copies are illegal and offenders will have lotz of phun!!!"

Yesterday Symbian put out a statement which contributed to the impression that malign code was inserted into 'cracked' versions of the game by members of the computer underground. However it turns out that the hidden SMS functionality, along with a message written in the best vernacular VXer speak, was put in the game from the beginning by the original games publisher Ojom.

In an advisory, AV firm F-Secure explains: "This functionality was intended to be a copy-protecting technique - it didn't work as planned and the whole functionality backfired.

"The premium rate contracts for the phone numbers have been terminated, so although old versions of the game still send hidden SMS messages, it only costs the nominal fee of sending the message itself. Current versions of this game no longer have this hidden functionality, but 'cracked' versions of Mosquitos still float in P2P network - and they still send these messages," it adds.

So what appeared to be a Trojan is actually a rather sneaky and somewhat ineffective copy-protection technique. Proof that even if something looks like a duck, talks like a duck and walks like a duck it isn't necessarily Anas platyrhynchos.

Although the Mosquitos saga turns out to be an urban myth, the recent discovery of the first malware capable of infecting smartphones shatters the comforting belief the mobile phones are safe from viral infection. The threat is very low at present but shouldn't be completely discounted. ®

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