While the hype at this week's 3GSM World Congress is centering around mobile TV, WiFi and cellular convergence, and IMS (to name a few), the lower-key news is the flood of established security companies coming into the mobile world in preparation for the predicted onslaught of rampaging worms and viruses the wired computer world has been grappling with for years.
These security threats may soon spread to the wireless industry because more sophisticated Internet-enabled devices, particularly those based on Windows, are entering the market and more customers will begin using them the way mobile operators have long hoped for: to surf the Web, download sophisticated applications and send and receive email messages along with their associated attachments. Security experts say damaging viruses passing to Web-enabled mobile devices and even between computers and mobile devices are not a question of if, but when.
That's why McAfee is launching a mobile security solution called Mobile VirusScan on a worldwide basis at the show. VeriSign and Mahindra British Telecom formed an alliance today to provide a comprehensive security solution that supports next-generation network services. Last week, Ericsson teamed with Trend Micro to offer a mobile anti-virus solution specifically for operator environments.
Mobile malware is growing faster than PC malware, says Drew Carter, senior product manager of McAfee's mobile initiatives. That's because all mobile devices are connected, whereas in the PC world, not all of them are all the time. The virus writers have evolved and matured, so it's now clear that they are moving from a pride perspective to the economic motivation. It doesn't help either that Microsoft is making major inroads into wireless. Windows is an OS that hackers are intimately familiar with and love to exploit. - Lynnette