How real is the mobile security threat?
So far mobile security threats have been a relatively minor annoyance to a handful of users in Europe and Asia.
But even though the risk of catching a virus on your cellphone is still relatively small, it is continuously increasing as
the use of email and Internet on cellphones is growing. Also in North America, where conditions for these threats
are ripening as rapidly as in the rest of the world.
The threat is becoming real
Attacks on cellphones rose fivefold in 2006, with clients of 83 percent of mobile operators around the world having been hit, and experts agree that 2007 will likely be the year when mobile viruses become more than a theoretical problem. Several reports and predictions by experts indicate that criminals increasingly will target smartphone and PDA devices as data moves to these devices. The rapid evolution of mobile viruses means they will pose a major threat in the future.
In the spring of 2007 a mobile antivirus firm demonstrated this trend. The company took a standard Nokia 6330 mobile phone to British high streets and shopping centres, and opened up the device to mobile phone viruses simply by turning on its Bluetooth receiver or downloading files via MMS, SMS or email. During a 28-day period the phone was infected 7 times by 5 types of viruses.
Since the first mobile virus appeared in 2004, the number of different viruses, worms or other type of mobile malware has now reached about 400 and the number is set to double by the end of 2007 as virus writers are creating new ways to attack cellphone software. Mobile hackers already have a large number of attack vectors. A mobile device can become infected via download, via sharing memory cards with other devices, via MMS, SMS or email, and via bluetooth.
The damage that mobile viruses can do is also very diverse. The most dangerous viruses can render a phone useless or steal money from users through pricey messages or calls to unwanted numbers without the user's knowledge. Other mobile malware is able to steal all data from a phone, listen in on calls, monitor MMS and SMS messages, and follow a phone owner's tracks.
Click this link to watch an informative three minute video explaining the mobile virus problem and how to prevent infection: http://news.zdnet.com/2036-11363_22-6095714.html
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