Ask a Geek: Eugene Kaspersky

Can viruses attack my cellphone?

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If it´s a smartphone,
you bet. In 2004, virus writers released Cabir, the first proof-of-concept virus that could infect smartphones through
an open Bluetooth connection.
So far, Cabir and the 175 other smartphone viruses in the wild haven´t done enough damage to warrant headlines. But it´s only a matter of time before there´s enough financial upside for criminal hackers to begin seriously attacking smartphones. And then, watch out.

No smartphone? You´re still not safe. A scam now common in Europe involves sending text-message spam that pretends to be a missed-call notice. Return the call, and you´re unwittingly charged several dollars, just as
if you´d called a 1-900 number.
A similar threat uses malicious code embedded in an innocent downloadable game. Once loaded, it secretly sends multiple text messages to costly premium numbers.

Here´s how to protect yourself:

  1. Never text or call back
    numbers you don´t recognize.
  2. Don´t open unknown
    attachments or follow links from an e-mail.
  3. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
    connectivity until you need it.
  4. Install smartphone anti-virus
    software, such as Kaspersky Anti-Virus Mobile (kaspersky.com).
  5. Finally, read your phone´s user manual to learn about
    its unique security features,
    and use them.

Eugene Kaspersky is head of virus research at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-virus software company.

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