More in the news today about the source code for a Symbian based virus which spreads over Bluetooth. It’s availability is expected to make the virus more common among Smartphone users) Things like this are frustrating because you have to wonder what it is these virus writers are trying to achieve.
When it comes to Windows on your desktop, virus releases usually exploit gaping vulnerabilities in the OS, but when it comes to infecting a Symbian Smartphone, the success of an infection attempt depends entirely on the user; if the OS did any more to stop the virus installing itself, it would render the Smartphone locked down in the same way Microsoft Smartphones are, not letting you install anything that has not been approved by the ‘Powers that Be’.
The good news is that at the moment, being safe from a Symbian virus is as easy as not doing anything, and it’s what you’re not doing that will keep you safe…
Keep your Bluetooth switched off. Windows viruses come over the internet but the current bunch of variations on the cabir virus comes over Blue tooth. You can use software such as Extended Profiles from PsiLoc to turn your Bluetooth on and off according to the time of day, so maybe you can use that to only have Bluetooth active when you’re driving, for instance.
If you don’t want to keep your Bluetooth off, make sure you can’t be discovered. You can do this in the Bluetooth settings by changing ‘My Phone’s Visibility’ to Hidden.
If you want to remain visible, or discoverable, then don’t accept messages from strangers. If you’re on the train and your phone tells you that there’s an incoming connection, reject it every time. Don’t go looking for the evil offender who cunningly tried to send it to you, however, since the chances are that they don’t know what their phone is doing.
If, though, you want to receive a file from a stranger (some innocent fun can be had by sending and receiving funny pictures to and from strangers in public places – keep it clean , then check the file before opening it. If the name of the file ends with .sis, DELETE IT! The chances of a stranger sending you an innocent application at random are very slim and so if they’ve sent you an installer (which a .sis file is), it is very likely to be a virus.
If you’ve accidentally opened the file, just cancel the install when you’re warned about it’s security. Symbian Smartphones are very careful about security and will hold your hand all the way through an install process for new software – the only thing it won’t do is force you to not install it.
So, as you can see, you can make it impossible for your Smartphone to become infected. Here alone, you can see the steps you can take to make a virus’ life difficult.
Ultimately, nothing can be installed onto your Smartphone without your permission so, unless you’re in the process of installing some software, reject everything that tries to install.
For extra peace of mind, you can install anti-virus software onto your phone (see online shops such as Handango for a number of available applications – but keep away from TSG Phone Safe though), but ultimately, your Smartphone’s security is only as strong as the weakest link.