Type File virus
Date Discovered 2000.09.22
Place of Origin
Source Language
Platform PalmOS
File Type(s) .prc
Infection Length 963 bytes
Reported Costs

Phage is the first virus for the Palm operating system. As an overwriting virus, it ends up destroying all executables on the device, rendering it unusable until it is completely restored. Other malware for the Palm has been reported, but this is still the only virus. Phage is also the name of another biological virus, as well as some fictional viruses.


Phage can arrive on a Palm PDA when an infected file is beamed to it, installed via HotSync or transferred through a flash memory card.

Phage on a Palm device.

When executed, the infected application makes the screen go grey, during which time it is actually infecting other files. The virus prepends its code to all Palm executables, which are destroyed in the process. Infected files may shrink to around half their size. Phage does not destroy database files, and all applications can be restored from backup.


The virus is named after a disease that affected an alien race in the series Star Trek: Voyager. It is also a real virus that infects bacteria, and is believed to have medical uses. It was even approved as a food additive, by the American Food and Drug Administration. Phage is also the name of a reportedly viral program coded by artist Mary Flanagan.

  • Antivirus AliasesEdit
  • Avast!: Palm:Phage
  • ClamAV: PALM.Phage
  • Eset: Palm/Phage.A
  • McAfee: PalmOS/Phage
  • Symantec: Palm.Phage.Dropper
  • Trend Micro: PALM_PHAGE.A

Other Facts

Phage is the only true virus for PalmOS. The only other malware that exists for the Operating system are a few trojans such as Vapor and Liberty. To this date, no worms exist for the system. Phage itself is not wild, and therefore mostly confined to the labs of the creator, the anti-virus companies and collections of virus traders and collectors.


Jarno Niemela, Mikko Hypponen., "F-Secure Virus Descriptions: Phage". 2000.09

Motoaki Yamamura., "Palm.Phage.Dropper".

Trend Micro Antivirus, PALM_PHAGE.A.

Tony Smith. The Register, First Palm virus isolated. 2000.09.25

Lucy Sheriff. -, FDA approves viruses as 'food additive'. 2006.08.21

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