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Phage, PalmOS/Phage, Palm virus


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


Based on the settings of your F-Secure security product, it will either move the file to the quarantine where it cannot spread or cause harm, or remove it.

A False Positive is when a file is incorrectly detected as harmful, usually because its code or behavior resembles known harmful programs. A False Positive will usually be fixed in a subsequent database update without any action needed on your part. If you wish, you may also:

  • Check for the latest database updates

    First check if your F-Secure security program is using the latest updates, then try scanning the file again.

  • Submit a sample

    After checking, if you still believe the file is incorrectly detected, you can submit a sample of it for re-analysis.

    Note: If the file was moved to quarantine, you need to collect the file from quarantine before you can submit it.

  • Exclude a file from further scanning

    If you are certain that the file is safe and want to continue using it, you can exclude it from further scanning by the F-Secure security product.

    Note: You need administrative rights to change the settings.

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:


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