Saturday, March 12, 2005

More Symbian virus problems

There has been a lot of coverage both in the Blogosphere and in the main stream press over the recent spate virus outbreaks for the Symbian smart phone operating system. I've talked about this topic before, and still agree with New Scientist and Graham Cluley from Sophos who says "You are about as likely to get hit by a falling piano as you are to get a virus on your mobile phone", however recent developments may mean that falling piano's are becoming slightly more common than they used to be...

Over the last couple of weeks the number of viruses found in the wild for the Symbian operating system has grown sharply. As well as Commwarrior, the first to be able to spread via MMS, the Dampig-A and Lasco-A trojans have also appeared. Considering the few known viruses for the platform the appearance of three new strains in such a short time period must be viewed as a cause for concern.

While anti-virus software is starting to appear for the Symbian platform I think it's likely to have little impact in the short term, there are simply too many mobile phones in the hands of too many people who simply view them as just that, phones, rather than small computers that can be used (amongst other things) to talk to people.

I'd like to predict that mobile phone viruses will never reach the stage that they become the same sort of problem that they have on the Windows platform, but depressingly, I think it'll actually turn out to be worse. The mobile platforms are wide open when it comes to security, and there is money to be made by the unscrupulous few, and money to be lost by the technically illiterate. The first black-hat with a decent self-replicating code for Symbian could make a lot of money, so long as they were willing to steal it from the unknowing masses.