Update: Debate - Is there really a growing mobile phone malware

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Update: Debate - Is there really a growing mobile phone malware

NO - Simon Perry - VP security, EMEA, CA

"The fact is that where mobile phone viruses are concerned, there is no threat to protect against. The only company that thinks otherwise is F-Secure, which has invented the notion that smartphones are assaulted by malicious code threats.

Let's be clear: while there have been between 70 and 80 examples of malcode that will infect a smartphone platform, none have spread wildly in the general phone population. They're just "proof of concept" viruses that could never spread as far, nor as fast, as an attack against the usual PC platform. With the current and envisaged network, inter-handset communication methods and platform capabilities, it is hard to see that these viruses will pose a threat in the near to medium term.

Why? Because the mobile phone platform does not share the characteristics that make the PC so vulnerable. The challenge for security professionals, and the general computer user, is to stay educated on the real security threats. Hyping up the notion of a threat might create a market for an unnecessary cure, but it doesn't earn credibility in the long term."

YES - Mikko Hypponen Chief research officer, F-Secure

"Indeed, we warn about the threat of mobile malware, but we're far from being the only firm to do so. Companies such as McAfee, Trend Micro and Symantec work in the field and sell products. We have worked on this problem since 1999, longer than anyone else.

This risk is not invented, the mobile malware count now tops 300. Tens of thousands of phones have been infected worldwide, with southeast Asia, southern Africa and countries such as the United Arab Emirates among the worst-hit. We know this because we work with mobile phone manufacturers and operators.

This is a real threat. I should know, bluetooth viruses have tried attacking my phone four times so far. Of course I run our anti-virus on my phone, so I haven't been infected. Mobile platforms are different from PCs. Most infected computers get hit via email or the web. Phones typically get hit through bluetooth or MMS.

You're still much more likely to get a PC virus than a phone one. But, if we ignore this problem now, it's only going to get worse. We can still stop things getting as bad as with PCs."

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