Palm is evaluating the impact of a virus, called Phage, which is downloaded in seconds – even from an Internet connection – and plays havoc with its handheld devices. The only clue to the user is that the screen goes blank for a second as the destructive file runs.
One virus expert predicts that Phage will be shared among virus writers, gaining greater ability to disguise itself and spread.
A spokesman for Finland-based F-Secure said that such viruses are often disguised as computer games or pornographic images on Internet newsgroups.
Earlier malicious files, like Trojan horses, have affected handheld devices, but do not spread as easily as viruses. The only way to restore the Palm is from a backup, or by downloading and re-installing applications.