SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The world's first mobile phone virus "in the wild" has spread to the United States from its birthplace in the Philippines eight months ago, a security research firm said on Friday.
The virus, called Cabir, has spread slowly into 12 countries and marks the beginning of the mobile phone virus era, which could one day disrupt the lives of many of the world's 1.5 billion mobile phone users.
The biggest impact of the relatively innocuous virus, found in about 15 variations so far, is draining mobile phone batteries, said Mikko Hypponen, director of Finnish anti-virus research company F-Secure (FSC1V.HE).
Hypponen said Cabir was found on Monday in a technology gadgets store in Santa Monica, California, when a passing techie spotted a telltale sign on the screen of a phone in the store.
Unlike computer viruses that spread quickly around the world via the Internet, Cabir spreads slowly because it travels only over short distances through a wireless technology known as Bluetooth. It also requires a user to restart the phone after it has been exposed for the virus to take hold.