Mobile antivirus software
is detection and protection tools used to identify and remove viruses
on mobile devices. Modern antivirus software can protect devices against a wide range of malware
, including worms
, and Trojans
Threats to your mobile
So far mobile security threats have been a relatively minor annoyance to a a limited number of users in Europe and Asia. But even though the risk of catching a virus on your mobile phone is still relatively small, it is continuously increasing as the use of e-mail and internet on mobile phones is growing.
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Botnets on mobile phones?
"We'll start to see the botnet problem infiltrate the mobile world", predicts Patrick Traynor, assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science, in the report ‘Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2009’ (Georgia Tech Information Security Center, October 15, 2008). Download the 385 KB .pdf here.
What is a botnet?
‘Botnet’ is the term used to describe a network of hacker-controlled computing devices which have been infected with malicious software that hackers can control.
Until now, botnets have mostly operated from computers, and an estimated 15% of all online computers are infected with bots. With mobile phones taking on more and more of the interactive online functionalities, they will be prone to the same types of attacks.
If botnets gain a foothold on mobile devices, they could be used to create a ‘distributed denial of service attack’ – a DDoS attack - on the cellular network itself, inconveniencing thousands of mobile phone customers.
Lots of ways to infect your mobile
Since the first mobile virus appeared in 2004, the number of different viruses, worms or other type of mobile malware have increased rapidly, and virus writers are constantly creating new ways to attack mobile phone 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 e-mail, and via Bluetooth.
Lots of ways to damage you
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.
The good news!
On the bright side, though, we have one advantage when it comes to fighting the crooks attacking our mobiles, according to Patrick Traynor:
“Because the mobile communications field is evolving so quickly, it presents a unique opportunity to design security properly—an opportunity we missed with the PC.”
Traynor points out that most people buy a new mobile device every two years. It therefore has a much shorter life cycle than the typical computer and Windows installation, which is closer to 10 years.
“The short life cycle of mobile devices gives manufacturers, developers and the security community an opportunity to learn what works from a security standpoint and apply it to devices and applications more quickly,” says Traynor. “However, it is not going to be an easy problem to solve.”
Read our security articles and learn more threats to your mobile:
How real is the mobile security threat?
What are DoS and DDoS attacks?
How a virus works