Palm gets first trojan horse attack

The first known Trojan horse aimed at handhelds struck late last week. A Trojan horse is a malicious program that appears to be legitimate, which is often attached to free gaming software. Trojan horses can locate password information, make systems more susceptible to future entry, or sabotage data on a user's hard disk.

Developed by a software programmer, the Liberty Crack program, as the Palm Trojan horse is now known, appeared as a free version of Gambit Studios LLC's Liberty GameBoy emulation software for the Palm. Once Liberty Crack executes, it could delete all of the applications on a Palm device. Trojan horses typically mimic legitimate programs but do not replicate themselves.

At the moment, the Trojan horse doesn't seem to warrant too much concern. A fix has already been posted and Palm users have the ability to synchronize their devices with their PC to retrieve lost data.

Virus experts at Network Associates's McAfee division, however, claim that this initial incident may pave the way for hackers interested in attacking increasingly popular PDAs (personal digital assistants) and other wireless devices.

Ryan McGee, product marketing manager at McAfee, said that Palm looked at the workings of the Timofónica virus released in Spain in July as the first hint of possible attacks on PDAs and handhelds. The Timofónica virus could send copies of itself to contacts in a victim's address book and then send short messages to mobile phones. With the virus making its way into wireless devices, McGee said that McAfee began work on a antivirus scanner.

"As an application or device gains popularity, it becomes an attractive target for virus writers," McGee said. With that in mind, McAfee developed software to scan the Palm operating system as well as rival offerings -- Symbian's EPOC OS and Microsoft's Windows CE OS.

McGee said that he would not be surprised to see the first full-fledged virus directed toward PDAs within a year. The more advanced memory capabilities of these devices make them an immediate target, McGee noted, adding that cell phones may also face similar tests in the future. "Any time a device has the capability to access a network or another device, it is dangerous," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ashlee Vance

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?