The first real viruses for mobile phones were found in June 2004. Since then, scores of different viruses have been found, most of them targeting smartphones running different versions of the Symbian operating system. Many of them are spreading in the wild and have been reported from all continents. These mobile viruses use new spreading vectors such as multimedia messages and Bluetooth and pose special problems for researchers. For example, they can easily escape during analysis as they use radio connections to spread. As total count of known mobile malware is now around 350, we know much more about what types of viruses to expect in the future and about who writes them. We also know what we should do to prevent this niche area from becoming a bigger problem.
Mikko Hypponen is the Chief Research Officer at F-Secure Corp. He has been a globally known computer antivirus guru for the past decade. He has consulted security issues to IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and Scotland Yard. Mr. Hypponen has been an invited member of CARO (the Computer Anti-Virus Researchers Organization) since 1995. In November 2006 he wrote an article on the history—and future—of mobile viruses for Scientific American.
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