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Research Group Warns Of New Mobile Device Threat

The Mobile Malware Researchers Association, a nonprofit organization of professional researchers, says it discovered the first virus that can be transferred from a PC to a mobile device and delete files.

The Association received an anonymous alert about malware dubbed the "Crossover" virus for its ability to cross-infect a Windows Mobile Pocket PC from a desktop computer running the Windows operating system. It's the first virus of its kind, according to the alert.

The virus makes a copy of itself and puts a startup command to the copy in the registry. It then quietly waits for an ActiveSync connection, which synchronizes data between a PC and a mobile device. Each time a PC is rebooted, the virus repeatedly copies itself into the registry. This could slow down the PC's performance or even stop it altogether.

The virus copies itself to a Pocket PC running the Windows CE or the Windows Mobile operating system and erases files in a device's My Documents directory.

But mobile users shouldn't panic just yet. The Crossover virus, like most of the mobile device malware that's surfaced in recent years, is a proof-of-concept virus. However, it shows a realistic scenario of how easily malware can spread from a desktop computer to a mobile device. And the alert was evaluated and posted by a vendor-neutral organization of researchers and doesn't appear to be an attempt by an anti-virus vendor to sell its security products.

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