Bombarded by new viruses for Symbian powered mobile phones according to the media as well as the various Antivirus software companies. And so comes the question. Have your mobile phone ever been infected by a virus? And if the answer is yes what where the consequences? Are people overeacting? Are there any hidden interests behind all this terrorization? When someone is infected by a virus either biological or computer then this is done with no knowledge. Without any particular action. The biological virus can be transmitted even via the air while a virus in the computer simply by surfing the Internet without protection (e.g. firewall, antivirus etc.).

In the Symbian mobile phones things are very different. We actually have a program which IF it is installed in the mobile phone it activates the Bluetooth and sends itself (the original sis executable installation program) in any Bluetooth active device it'll find. It's name is Carib and it is the only virus which had a small spread. All the rest are simply alterations of the Carib virus that can do something extra. None of the other viruses has been spread! And none can infect a mobile phone if its user won't first give permission and not one time, but multiple times. Do we really have to deal with viruses or with something else?

The companies calls them worms but actually they do not really have many things in common with an actual worm. Their properties match those of a Trojan horse. A program referred doing a specific task but actually does something different. In order for this program to act it must first executed/installed by the user.

There are two infection ways:
1.The user finds and downloads the specific sis installation file from a web page which may also contain illegal material and installs the program to his mobile phone.
2.The user accepts to receive the file via e-mail, Ir-DA (extremely hard situation) or with the classic way that the virus spreads itself via Bluetooth and afterwards the user knowing that it is actually an installation file he executes it and installs the virus.

In both of the above cases the mobile phone user receives a program from an unknown source while the description of this file from its name can also be misleading if not nowhere near informative. If the user will decide to install it then whatever the consequences will be, HE IS ABSOLUTELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM. If you go and eat something in a restaurant it is very difficult if not impossible for you to be infected by an illness from that food. Even in the extreme case where the above situation becomes reality the law will be in your side and you'll easily get an indemnification killing this way the reputation of the restaurant. For the same reason if you only install programs to your mobile phone from known sources you won't be infected by any virus. If a stranger offered you to eat something would you accept it? Of course not. So why would you then accept to install a program in your mobile phone from an unknown source when you don't even know what this program is?

Interesting however is also the whole installation process of any symbian program as well as the consequences of installing a virus. In the whole process the user have to confirm his actions 2-3 times (in one of them is pointed out that the source is unknown and that the file has not been digitally signed) as well as give the place he wants to install the program (Phone memory or Memory card). Nothing is done automatically. We actually have the most interactive way of been infected by a virus.

Even in the case where the user will install the program/virus in his mobile phone, the phone will still be operational. In the case of the Carib virus, you can easily kill it by simply erasing certain files with the use of a file manager while the only problem caused by this particular virus is the continuous use of the Bluetooth that decreases the duration of the battery. Other alterations like the Skulls will also replace all the firmware programs shortcuts and icons with programs that do not actually work and have a skull icon without however deleting the original programs something that is almost impossible (firmware is read only - the same method has been used to change icons in the series60 ver1.0 mobile phones with the exception that in the case of the Skulls virus the programs/shortcuts lead nowhere). In the worst case a hard reset of the mobile phone (format phone memory) will completely erase the virus and if the user had previously kept a backup then there will absolutely be no problem.

As I've written above the Carib it is the only virus that accomplished to spread a little. According to it's creators it's aim of existence was to show that the creation of a virus for mobile phones was possible. It was only sent in the Antivirus software companies. All the other viruses are based on Carib but there is not even a single report of a mobile phone being infected by them. Thus you may also hear a lot of conspiracy theories from the moment where the only recipient of these viruses are these companies. And all the information and reports about the new viruses comes only from them...