Anti-virus software vendors McAfee Avert Labs have released a dire warning about impending doom for smartphone users, claiming that mobile security threats are expected to triple next year.
The company say that the number of malicious software programs targeting mobile devices is expected to soar to 726 by the end of 2006, up from an estimated 226 at the end of 2005.
And it’s not just malware that’s going to be putting our phones under siege, with targeted phishing attacks and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) – like adware and spyware – also anticipated to increase
Craig Schmugar, virus research manager for McAfee Avert Labs predicts that mobile malware is going to be the biggest headache for the year ahead, “They’re gaining increased interest from the virus (writing) community,” Schmugar said.
“And as these devices become more pervasive, they become a bigger target,” he gloomily added.
Schmugar claimed that the consumers’ lack of interest in applying security software to their mobile devices (i.e not buying their software) is likely to compound the problem.
Whipping up the fear and dread, he pointed out that the “I Love You” virus, which rapidly infected tens of millions of PCs in 2000, would have spread wider and faster in smartphones which do not have security software installed (i.e. their product).
According to McAfee, a 45 to 50 percent rise in commercial PUPs is expected next year, although the company reckon that new legislation – coupled with restraint in the advertising software industry – may keep a lid on growth.
Although we’ve no doubt that smartphones are going to increasingly be targeted by pesky phishers and vile virus writers, we won’t be dipping in our wallets quite yet.