Imminent flood of smartphone malware?

As this year’s Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, is coming to an end, a few important players in the security industry shared their thoughts about the future development of and threats looming over the mobile industry and users.

Eugene Kaspersky says that it took more than 20 years for computer viruses to become a money-making industry, but that he expects it will take much less time when it comes to the mobile market. “This year and next year we expect to see the industrialization of smartphone malware.”

Mikko Hypp?¶nen of F-Secure says that nobody can predict when the first worldwide outbreak of a mobile worm of virus will hit. “We have been able to delay it by more than five years, at least,” he says.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that for the time being, F-Secure detected only 430 worms for mobile platforms in the last six years, which isn’t such a huge number when you compare it with the number of computer worms. The same can be said about password-stealing Trojans and viruses.

Hypp?¶nen thinks the situation is such because the first malware on every new platform is always created by hobbyists – as a challenge and a method to show off their skills. When money-making opportunities begin to rise, the “real” criminals enter the arena.

Kaspersky thinks that that day is coming soon, because mobile banking is on the rise.

Adam Leach of Ovum has a more positive vision of the future, since the companies have, so far, found ways to minimize the threat. But he doesn’t think that is a reason to be complacent – quite the contrary. Staying vigilant and taking the threat seriously will help with its mitigation.

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