Threat Description

Phage

Details

Category: Malware
Platform: W32
Aliases: Phage, PalmOS/Phage, Palm virus

Summary


PalmOS/Phage is the first real virus for the Palm OS PDA operating system.



Removal


Automatic action

Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.

More scanning & removal options

More information on scanning or removal options is available in the documentation for your F-Secure security product on the Downloads section of our Home - Global site.

You may also refer to the Knowledge Base on the F-Secure Community site for more information.

Contact Support

For further assistance, F-Secure customers can request support online via the Request support or the Chat forms on our Home - Global site.



Technical Details


It works by overwriting the beginning of Palm executables. The host files are destroyed in the process. Once one infected PRC file is transferred to Palm, the virus keeps spreading to other Palm programs until they are all infected (and destroyed).

Picture of what is believed to be the original infector application of Phage virus

This very simple virus does nothing else than replicate itself. It contains following texts:

FindVictim         PhageMain  

You can spot the infection from the fact that when you start an infected file, the screen goes blank for a second and the program exits without doing anything visible. During this time the virus locates and infects all other programs in the system.

Screenshot of Phage infected file starting.

Phage can spread from one Palm to another if infected files are shared via beaming or installed via a docking station.

Phage has not been found in the wild and can not be considered a serious threat at this time.

When activated Phage infects and destroys all application files in the device but does not harm database files. Applications can be restored by deleting all infected applications and restore the application files from backups. Or if no backups are available restoring all .prc files from application distribution packages.

By default the Palm desktop hotsync does not backup application files during hotsync. So for the future it is recommended that users look for backup software that enables backing up of the application files during sync. One good place to look is https://www.palmgear.com





Technical Details:Jarno Niemela & Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure, September 2000


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