FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, February 24, 2006

Defending Cell Phones Against Viruses

So far, the virus threat to cell phones has been minimal, despite nearly 150 cell phone viruses discovered since 2004. But security experts believe that a widespread phone virus outbreak is only a matter of time... and to that end, antivirus software is being developed for cell phones.

The prevalence of advanced features on cell phones, especially Bluetooth wireless connections and MMS messaging, leave cell phones increasingly vulnerable to viruses. Gartner, in fact, believes a fast-spreading cell phone virus is likely to strike sometime before the end of 2007. In response, antivirus software developers Symantec, McAfee and F-Secure are developing security software for smart phones. Although these products have made inroads in Japan, the major US phone carriers have resisted such protection, declaring their networks safe from malicious use. Verizon and T-Mobile routinely scan their networks for virus activity and block anything suspicious.

Whether consumers demand antivirus software for their phones will depend largely on perception and media attention given to a virus outbreak, and the sense among corporate mobile phone customers that their assets need maximum protection. But as phones become more complex, contain more data and become ever more deeply ingrained in our lives, a serious virus could become downright crippling.

Source: ZDNet