McAfee Avert Labs has forecast a significant increase in mobile phone security threats in 2006.
Mobile malware was first sighted in June 2004 when a group of professional virus writers created the first proof-of-concept virus for smartphones. Since then, several mobile Trojans have appeared, resulting in an alarming growth of mobile malware.
McAfee says the use of smartphone technology has played a pivotal role in the threat’s transition from PCs to mobile devices. It predicts that damage caused by new mobile threats is likely to be more extensive than that caused by today’s PC threats because of the small percentage of smartphones protected by mobile security.
McAfee offers software such as Virus Scan Wireless.
It offers the example of the 2004 ‘I Love You’ virus, which penetrated tens of millions of PCs in just a couple of hours despite the fact that half of all PCs had Internet security software installed. By comparison, a mobile threat targeting several operating systems could infect up to 200 million connected smartphones simultaneously because the majority of these devices do not currently have mobile security protection installed.
McAfee says consumers are less likely to install mobile security versus PC security because the perceived risk from mobile threats is much less. However, creators of mobile malware have learned from PC hackers and virus writers to create sophisticated threats, invisible to the consumer, that provide them with financial gain. This will result in instantly mature mobile threats that can devastate networks and consumer data with little fanfare or warning.
It says that since malware’s inception, mobile malware has grown almost 10 times faster than PC malware over a comparable period of one year.
with mixed success.