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13 Mar 2007

Malware trends on mobile devices

Antivirus vendors have been talking-up the malware threat to mobile devices such as smart phones and PDAs for a few years now. Naturally, those who offer antivirus software for such devices tend to be more vociferous about the problem but there comes a point when it's time to take their warnings seriously.

Kaspersky's summary of current mobile malware risks identifies trends during 2006 that point to the possibility of this getting serious before too long. The number of mobile viruses increased steadily from ~120 to ~180 in the year, still way short of the epidemic virus numbers seen on PC platforms. Of more interest is a perceived change in the nature of the threat, namely more emphasis on stealing money rather than simply annoying users. If true, that observation mirrors what others are saying about identity theft and other criminal activities in general in relation to information security incidents.

[That said, I feel pretty safe out here in the depths of rural New Zealand, several miles outside mobile coverage. We use jungle drums not cellphones.]

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