Antivirus vendors launch security solutions for mobiles

Hot on the heels of erroneous reports last month of a virus that hit Spain’s Telefonica cell phone network, the antivirus software vendors are already delivering security solutions for mobile devices.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Hot on the heels of erroneous reports last month of a virus that hit Spain’s Telefonica cell phone network, the antivirus software vendors are already delivering security solutions for mobile devices.

Mcafee.com recently declared the availability of its Wireless Security Centre, which detects viruses and prevents them from infecting wireless devices.

The security centre is initially targeted at Palm Computing, Symbian and Microsoft units.

Also Russian-based, Kapersky Labs revealed technology to allow its software to run on PCs, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and Internet appliances.

“Since the market for antiviral software for PCs is mature and saturated, PDAs and cell phones represent a tremendous growth opportunity for antiviral software vendors,” said Gartner Group analyst, John Pescatore.

Virus Threat

According to Pescatore, users can now expect “a crescendo of marketing campaigns from antiviral software vendors that will focus on the threat of viruses to wireless devices — well ahead of actual risk.”

In straightforward terms, a virus is a software program that attaches itself to other programs in the computer’s memory, and spreads to other applications.

However, for wireless viruses to pose a threat, “easily corrupted mechanisms for viruses or infected files to spread among wireless-device users must be available and ubiquitous,” said Pescatore.

“In addition, those files must be capable of being executed on the wireless devices. Today’s generation of data-capable cell phones supports neither of these conditions; PDAs just barely do.

"In both cases, e-mail forms the primary distribution mechanism, and antiviral software for wireless communications will work most effectively at the e-mail server.”

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