WARNING: if your Series 60 smartphone is infected
with something nasty, then you've been careless with what you've chosen to
install. Please be prepared to eat a little huumble pie and promise, hand on
heart, to be more careful in future...
As mentioned previously in my main viruses article, there's no such thing as a Symbian OS
'virus'. On a PC, especially without a firewall in place, it's easy for viruses
and spyware to silently install themselves and start doing nasty things,
including infecting other PCs.
Installations on a Symbian OS (Series 60, for the purposes of this
article) smartphone all have to be accepted manually, including having the
app's certificate and compatibility checked. So there's no way you can get
infected without your knowledge and there's no way (in theory) for a piece of
malware (malicious software) to spread. Which mainly explains why real world
infections are very rare and why the anti-virus software companies are jumping
up and down hyping up the threat in a bid to boost their software sales.
However, maybe you've been very unlucky and have managed
to get 'infected' by something. Perhaps you were trying out that new game that
a contact 'kindly' sent you by MMS or over Bluetooth? Perhaps you were trying
to get a program for free by downloading it from a 'warez' (cracked software)
site? Whatever. The question is, how do you get rid of the thing and how do you
stop yourself being affected in the future?
I'm assuming that you're a relative beginner to Series 60
and Symbian OS (otherwise you wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!). An
expert would hunt round the hidden System folder in the file system and delete
the files necessary, but I'm going to recommend that you back up your data,
wipe your internal and expansion disk and then put your data back.
- Synchronize with Outlook and make sure your PIM data is
safe (Calendar, Tasks, Contacts, Notes).
- Make sure you've got a record of all Internet and
Messaging access passwords and servers. You'll find them all in Settings |
Connections and Messaging | Settings. These will need to be typed in (or set up
over the air) again later.
- Copy any document, image/video and third party files
(if any) to your desktop.
- Make sure you have a record of any reg codes for third
party applications and have their original SIS installation files on your
- If you need your SMS (text message) database retained,
use PC Suite's Nokia Phone Browser to drag and drop copies of your messages
onto your PC hard disk.
- You'll probably already have hard disk copies of the
media files and other stuff on your expansion card - if you don't then now's
the time to copy these as well.
Consider all this a panic-free test of your disaster
recovery procedures for a lost or broken smartphone. There's no need to worry
about the virus spreading up your PC link, Symbian and Windows applications
- Now you're ready to reformat. First of all, use 'Tools
| Memory' (or similar) to format your expansion card. Once wiped, extract it
immediately in case it becomes contaminated by the malware.
- Now to format the phone's internal flash disk. See your
smartphone manual for details, but on most recent S60 devices you simply hold
down 'Green', '*' and '3' at the same time. Keep them held down while you turn
the device on and count to ten before releasing the three keys. Then sit back
and be patient.
- You should see a virgin smartphone. And of course clear
of any malware! It's safe to put your expansion card back in now.
- Re-synchronize your PIM data from Outlook (or whatever
- Re-install any third party applications, enter their
- Copy back over your documents, images/videos and third
party files, as needed.
- Enter your Messaging and Internet settings again. If
you're not sure about the latter, your SIM card network operator can probably
send them 'over the air' for free.
- If appropriate, drag and drop your backed up SMS items
back into Nokia phone browser, so that they appear on the device again.
Avoiding 'infection' in the future
- Don't install applications from warez sites and other
dodgy outlets. Stick to original developer sites or known good portals such as
3-Lib, My-Symbian or AllAboutSymbian (and many others)
- If you receive an application via MMS or Bluetooth or
email and you're not 100.00% sure that it's something you really, really want,
just delete it. If your finger slips and you press 'Yes' to accept it
accidentally, don't worry, you'll get several more chances to cancel the
- If you can identify the person/friend who sent you the
file, please tell them about this page!