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An article on internetnews.com today caught my eye. “In Search of Smarter Phones” http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3788456 tells of capabilities being added to smart phones and new applications for these devices. With the release of ESET Mobile Antivirus this was of interest to me as currently there are few threats in the wild that attack the devices we currently support.
Many experts have claimed that the reason we have not seen mobile epidemics is that there isn’t a dominant platform, but I do not think a dominant platform is going to be required. The serious attacks against mobile devices, at least initially, will be at the application level. Online banking is going to draw the attention of the criminals behind most of the malware we see today. Social applications, such as YouMail.com, mentioned in the article will provide enticing social engineering attack vectors as well
Do you really need mobile antivirus today to protect your smart phone? Your odds of being hit with malware on a Windows Mobile device today are fairly low, but the threats will be increasing. I was a fairly early adopter of antivirus software. I started using antivirus software in about 1991. Back then viruses and Trojans were not all that common. Most users could go unprotected with fairly little risk. I was a computer newbie at that time and I listened to a programmer who told me to take of the antivirus software because it used resources and didn’t do anything for me. A month or so later the same programmer infected my computer with the Form virus. He told me my computer was acting funny, so I re-installed the antivirus software and found out why. This was a couple of years before I joined Microsoft and well more than a decade before I came to work for an antivirus company.
Those who learn from history can avoid a myriad of problems. With mobile devices becoming more functional we are drawing close to the reality of massive mobile attacks. I am guessing that in late 2009 we will see a small, but noticeable increase in attacks against mobile devices. 2010 will probably see a more significant level of suck attacks. If I am correct in these predictions then 2011 will be when the attacks become mainstream.
My recommendation is that you start learning about mobile security now and apply the basics. That will be likely to keep you from being one of the first waves of victims.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET