Mobile Phones See New Virus Threats in 2007
| by Reuters |
The number of mobile viruses is set to double by the end of the year as virus writers are creating new ways to attack the fragmented cellphone software market, a senior official from data security firm McAfee said.
"We expect this trend to increase as data transfers to mobile," Jan Volzke, marketing manager for McAfee's mobile business, told Reuters in an interview.
McAfee, together with Finnish F-Secure, has been the leading security software vendor for cellphones, but during the last year most large antivirus firms have rolled out their own products for the mobile industry.
Even though the chance of catching a virus on your cellphone is still relatively small, it is continuously increasing as the use of e-mail and Internet on cellphones is growing. The most pernicious viruses can render a phone useless or swell phone bills through pricey messages or calls to unwanted numbers.
Volzke said attackers were increasingly creating so-called spyware which can steal all data from the phone, enable call monitors, and follow the phoneowner's tracks.
Volzke said McAfee has also found that "edited" picture formats can crash the Opera Software Internet browser, opening a way for virus writers to attack the phone.
Opera's browser was installed in around 40 million phones sold last year.
Since the first mobile virus appeared in 2004, the number of different viruses, worms or other type of "malware" has reached 361, F-Secure said.
"We anticipate that mobile threats will both continue to grow in the smartphone market and expand into more widely deployed mobile technologies," Volzke said.
While smartphones represent less than 5 percent of the total cellphone base, and form a small part of the 1 billion phones sold annually, the first virus has been created to abuse JAVA technology, which is used in more than half of the phones sold each year.
"Mobile malware writers are trying to overcome the software fragmentation," he said.
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