Vendors Need To Focus On Mobile Viruses, Analyst Says

Viruses are becoming a more serious threat, but most hardware vendors and wireless operators have put the problem on a back burner, an industry analyst claims.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 25, 2005

1 Min Read

The time is past in which phone and mobile platform vendors can keep protection against viruses and worms on a back burner, an analyst for ABI Research claimed on Tuesday.

While a few harmful viruses, worms and trojans have emerged for mobile devices, their impact hasn't been as devastating as has been the case with desktop computers and servers, ABI analyst Brian Pellegrini said in a statement. As a result, vendors have not put the same emphasis on preventing damage from those threats, but that is changing.

"What if a virus infecting your phone started buying hundreds of ringtones?" Pellegrini said in a statement. "What about Bluetooth? Designers of Bluetooth-equipped phones have not adequately addressed security issues, and you could potentially see viruses spreading spontaneously between two phone-carrying people who pass each other on the street -- just like real human viruses."

Pellegrini noted that, while most viruses aimed at end users and servers target Microsoft platforms, that hasn't been the case so far with mobile viruses.

"In contrast to computer viruses, the mobile phone versions have not, by and large, targeted Microsoft's mobile OS, but Symbian's, which holds about an 85 percent share of the market," he said. "It seems that virus authors are willing to forego their traditional antipathy to all things Microsoft, if it means reaching a larger pool of victims."

Because of the increasing threat, platform vendors, device manufacturers and wireless operators all must increase their focus to prevent data loss and other damage, Pellegrini said.

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