Mobile Malware Protection Coming

With the recent attack of the Geinimi Trojan horse on Android operating systems and the rapid growth of mobile devices tapping into the Internet has now raised the issue of protecting mobile phones from hackers. Mobile malware protection has begun springing up from a number of computer protection companies and is the beginning of the guarding of smart phones that are fast becoming the apple of hackers’ eyes.

McAfee’s Threat Report of the last quarter last year gave consumers a view on how mobile malware is spreading, stating a 46% increase in 2010 to 967 threats from 704 of the year before. It is reported that Symbian is currently the riskiest platform, Android and jail broken iPhones following behind. Even though still small compared to the flourishing malware dominance on personal computers, it is estimated that mobile security would grow to the same levels, measuring investments in billions of dollars. Adobe Flash and PDF are the most common channels of malware on mobile devices, but with their frequent security updates to Windows Flash and PDFs, McAfee points its finger to non-Microsoft operating systems to be hard hit, along with users who aren’t aware of the mobile threats as much as the computer ones and fail to protect their mobile devices.

Kapersky Lab released versions of its mobile security software for Google and RIM operating systems at the Mobile World Congress, containing less features than those for Symbian and Windows Mobile. For Blackberry, only two features were designed and surprisingly came without antivirus with the reason given that it has good encryption and have almost nonexistent malware. The version involves the remote disabling of lost or stolen devices and data deletion upon receipt of a code through SMS. For the rest of the versions for other operating systems, Kapersky antivirus is supported, all except for the new Windows Phone 7 whose low-level functions they are unable to currently access, and Apple’s iOS that is off limits due to company restrictions.

AVG boasts the free version of its security applications tops 50,000 downloads a day by Android users as the OS grows more popular, employing a similar strategy on its mobile software with Antivirus Free and Antivirus Pro. The company has not been in the mobile security software business until November 2010 when it bought DroidSecurity. Now it offers, along with the usual antivirus and antispyware, a remote data-wiping capability, “device finding” using Google Maps and GPS, and password protection on applications among others.

ESET, a creator that hasn’t missed a single wild malware since it began testing in 1998, has released a public testing beta of its Mobile Security Business Edition for Windows Mobile and Symbian. It has similar features as that of Kapersky and AVG, with a little more extra like anti-spam and SIM matching, but fronts its key feature of Remote Administration support that can remotely schedule, change, or conduct processes like audits, scans, or configurations.

Plenty more mobile security software has already been released in varying prices and abilities of protection from companies that are more known like Norton and Lookout, to the newcomers like BullGuard. It is likely to see more names as the defenses are now being set up for mobile protection to weather the predictions of experts about the rapid rise of mobile malware this year. 0

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