Email virus hoaxers, cold as Ice

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Mobile phone viruses are being used as an excuse to send a hoax email that, ironically, does not actually contain a virus.

In the wake of the London bombings many organizations have been suggesting that users should put a contact under the name of "Ice" on their phone. The acronym stands for "In Case of Emergency," and is becoming increasingly popular.

But email hoaxers are claiming the entry will provide a port for a new mobile phone virus that specifically searches for the entry "Ice." Virus experts have dismissed the emails.

"Brain-dead pranksters have started a chain-letter email warning against such practices, because a mobile phone virus might exploit it. This is nonsense," said Mikko Hyponnen, director of antivirus research at Finnish company F-Secure. "No viruses to exploit the "Ice" number exists or are likely to exist."

The email contains the following text, users are urged to ignore it. Like all hoaxes, poor spelling is a good sign it's a sham.

You know the email that's gone round saying put ICE then a contact number in case of emergency? Well don't do it cos....

Be very careful with this one - although the intention is great it is unfortunately phase one of a phone based virus that is laying a path for propagating very quickly. Passing it on is part of the virus interestingly, such is the deviousness of the people who write these things.

We have already seen the "second phase" where a program is sent as part of a ring-tone download that goes into your address book and looks for something it recognises - you've guessed it, an address book entry marked "ICE or I.C.E." or whatever. It then sends itself to the "ICE list", charging you for the privilege.

www.f-secure.com

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