Palm Trojan looks lame

A Trojan horse capable of wiping out applications on Palm devices has reared its head but was downplayed by security experts as a nonthreat to Palm OS users at this time.

But the Liberty Trojan horse, which may come to be known as the first true PDA (personal digital assistant) malicious code, will probably invite a bevy of copycats to try their hand at thwarting security on these devices, security experts said.

The Trojan horse appears to have been distributed in the pirated software community as a "crack" for Gambit Studios' Liberty, an application that emulates a Nintendo Game Boy on a Palm OS, according to Graham Cluely, senior technology consultant at security company Sophos.

But rather than granting users crack capabilities, access to functionality they normally would get via registration, the Trojan horse, created by Liberty author and Swedish lecturer Aaron Ardiri, instead erased all programs on the Palm device.

"[Ardiri] renamed something which zaps people's Pilot to make them think it was something else. It's really not a threat," Cluely said. "Maybe the AV [antivirus] community has to eat a bit of humble pie here and say we overreacted, because as far I know, there have been no reports of this one."

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