Protection against mobile malware

This content is 20 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

As mobile phones offer more and more computing functionality, anti-virus technologies for smartphones have become an inevitable reality.

Back in June 2004, the Symb/Cabir-A worm was released (as reported by the BBC and others). The target is the Symbian operating system – just as for Windows on a PC, virus-writers and hackers will attack the largest user base first.

Let’s face it – no hacker will get any credit for exploiting a security hole in something obscure – that’s why Microsoft gets so much bad security press and Linux and Macintosh users say “my system is secure” – in reality they are probably no more secure than a well-configured Windows system, just not such a target.

According to an article at the PC World website, Nokia are addressing the issue by teaming up with F-Secure to offer subscription-based anti-virus protection for their Series 60 smartphones, starting with the forthcoming Nokia 6670. Quoting from Nokia:

“F-Secure Mobile Anti-Virus is available for the Nokia 6670 imaging smartphone, providing automatic, transparent real-time protection against harmful content locally on the mobile phone. Updating the phone’s virus database can be done either over an HTTPS connection or, in critical cases, by SMS message.”

Cabir uses bluejacking as a mechanism to spread and as most people are oblivious (no nice IT department managing the security of consumer mobile phones!), the best advice I can give is to set your phone to undiscoverable or hidden. There is also some advice on “mobile malware” at the Nokia website.

You can learn more about Bluejacking at the BluejackQ website. To make matters worse, a colleague of mine found this document, which suggests some people are thinking of using it as a marketing channel.

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