Providers must take preventative action now to combat mobile phone viruses – says StreamShield

London, 24 June 2005 – StreamShield Networks, the leader in real-time internet content security, says that mobile phone service providers must act now to protect their customers from the threat of viruses that attack handsets.

The first mobile virus, named Cabir, was detected almost a year ago but since then little has been done to ensure phones don’t fall prey to the same attacks that plague PCs with Internet connections. Although Cabir proved harmless, it paved the way for more potent incarnations that can now wipe phone numbers and other data, and send out messages from infected devices without the victim’s knowledge.

“There is a worrying level of unjustified calm from all quarters,” says Andrew Radley Director of Product Management at StreamShield Networks. “No-one is taking action, because, so far, mobile phone viruses have not caused the same kind of disruption as their web-based relations.”

Radley notes that adopting such a philosophy is like a company saying that there’s no point installing fire extinguishers, as its offices have never gone up in flames. “Has no-one learned anything from dealing with computer-based viruses?” he asks. “Preventative action has to be taken before these viruses have a serious impact on the way we live and work – as well as the way in which the general public views mobile communications and their own service providers.”

Some industry commentators argue for anti-virus software to be made more readily available, but Radley believes this is fundamentally unworkable. “Look at the problems you have in getting Internet users to upload the latest anti-virus software on a regular basis,” he says. “Mobile phones are used by a much more diverse section of the UK’s population – and they have very different levels of technical availability. I mean, could you explain the concept of anti-virus software and the importance of regular updates to your grandparents or to a 10-year-old child? And if you could, do you think they would remember and get into the habit of updating the software?”

Radley argues that the only real solution is to tackle mobile phone viruses at source by intercepting them on the network before they reach their intended victims. “That way,” he concludes, “people can carry on being phone users without having to become technical experts. That would mean spam could revert to a pre-packaged meat product, worms could go back to being small animals found in the soil at the bottom of gardens and phishing could just be associated with lazy weekends by the river. That’s got to make it worth committing to an investment in network security right now and maintaining consumer confidence in mobile communications.”

About StreamShield Networks:

StreamShield Networks is the first company in the world to provide integrated, internet-based protection for email, web and other real-time internet applications. Its products and services can identify and block threats – such as viruses, worms, other forms of malware, phishing scams, spam, and inappropriate content – in the internet before the content reaches any users and harms their computer systems.

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