A computer virus that sends unwanted text messages to mobile phones has been reported in Europe today.
The virus, called I-Worm Timofonica or VBS Timofonica, is a Visual Basic script (VBS) worm that uses Microsoft Outlook to spread in a similar way to the Love Bug virus, which caused billions of pounds worth of damage worldwide last month.
Although there have been very few reports of infections, antivirus vendors said the virus is interesting because it specifically targets mobile phones.
The virus arrives via email with the subject line 'TIMOFONICA', the message 'Es de todos ya conocido el monpolio de Telefonica pero no tan...', and an attachment called 'TIMOFONICA.TXT.vbs'.
According to antivirus vendor Sophos, a VBS script is executed if a user attempts to open the attachment. The script will edit the registry to replace a file called smos.com in the 'run' command. Later, it will write the file cmos.com into the systems directory. This file will overwrite the computer's Cmos settings and delete any partition tables that it finds.
The virus will also send a copy of itself out to everyone in the user's Outlook address book and a text - short messaging service (SMS) - message to users of Telefonica's mobile service.
Antivirus experts said the virus is unlikely to spread in non-Spanish speaking countries.
Mikko Hypponon, antivirus research manager at F-Secure, said: "This seems to be a political virus. Apparently, the virus is trying to protest against the Telefonica company - and it attempts to do this by sending the message directly to people's mobile phones.
"This is not a mobile phone virus - it does not spread through phones, it just sends annoying messages to them."
Graham Cluely, head of corporate communications at Sophos, said this is not the first virus to target mobile phones.
"Because the Love Bug uses Outlook to spread, it sent itself out to some mobile phones because some people had SMS addresses in the address field in Outlook," he said.
"There is no way it can infect your phone, and even the latest Wap phones don't have a powerful enough operating system to get infected with a virus," he added.
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