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Surviving the Warrior

Sneezing on my phone won't infect it with my cold virus, which downed me over the weekend after we strolled along DKNY Manila*. But having Bluetooth open to the whole wide world since time immemorial is like a "karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain", like my N3650 which caught the CommWarrior virus last April in Paseo de Santa Rosa.

I shrugged it off as one of those indecent messages I get over the ether via Notes, but when it started consuming battery life and attempting to send MMS messages promising free sex to everybody in my address book every now and then, I knew that a virus--a worm to be exact, is in the works. Welcome the new age of phone viruses.

Unlike previous phone viruses such as Cabir which depends on Bluetooth (and therefore, proximity as biological viruses do) to infect, CommWarrior leafs through my address book and spreads itself through MMS, so infecting the gadget-crazy Singaporean contact and the Canadian OFW cousin is not impossible.

Released "into the wild" last March and "officially" on Philippine soil two weeks ago as seen on GMA's 24 Oras, CommWarrior creates infected MMS messages which look like legitimate updates from Symbian, and even pornographic messages every 30 minutes and also passes itself via Bluetooth to nearby phones, consuming a chunk of battery life and ramping up the phone bills, making networks happier than ever. Who wouldn't want to open porn in the privacy of a cellphone right?

It's like the e-mail worms we used to receive but on the mobile phone scale. F-secure, an anti-virus firm from Finland, assumes CommWarrior to be of Russian origin because it contains text that says "OTMOP03KAM HET!", that roughly translates to "No to braindeads".

No, this won't affect your classic Nokia3210, but Nokia phones with Symbian Series 60 operating systems such as N3650, N3660 and N-Gage. Trendmicro offers free pro-active utilities which you can download on your PC and transfer to your phone via infrared and, er, Bluetooth dongles. And if your phone is infected, it has a .sis file which does not suck on memory and a panic-free procedure if you have a file manager installed. Yes, you can manually remove the files that the virus placed.

A click of prevention is better than a download of cure, so turn on your Bluetooth only when necessary--step out of the sedentary lifestyle and explore alternative means to search for intelligent life on this planet.

I'm sure 1 out of 500 is a pretty good yield.

*DKNY--Divisoria Kanto ng Ylaya.
N.B. My common cold, however, had to take its course, like teenage love. Must be the weather.

“Surviving the Warrior”