Advancements to Apple iPhone could mean a rise in mobile malware

News by Dan Raywood

The launch of the new iPhone 3G S model may be the cause of more malware being distributed to mobile handsets.

The launch of the new iPhone 3G S model may be the cause of more malware being distributed to mobile handsets.
 
In a blog posting, F-Secure claims that despite the new iPhone being faster and more feature-loaded, there will be a level of online browsing provided that other providers will aim to meet. The blog claimed: "If they (Apple) get it right, that means even more users picking up mobile surfing. This means that malware authors will have even more reason to start targeting the mobile phone. Let's hope the phone producers and mobile network operators consider that first Trojan a kind of 'warning shot' and set up some strong security measures. For now, it seems like all is quiet on the mobile front."
 

Jay Seaton, CMO at Airwide Solutions, claimed that the rise of the App Store phenomenon is also making applications and services that were previously limited to PCs, now available on mobile to offer consumer experiences that have never been possible before.  However, he claimed that as the mobile environment evolves, the same problems that have plagued PC users for many years (fraud, theft, viruses and spam) have also begun to threaten the integrity of the mobile industry.

 

Seaton said: "Adding to the complexity is the range of communication methods that can be carried out on a smartphone - email, SMS, MMS, web and WAP access - and along with them come a whole host of mobile security threats such as mobile spam, viruses and phishing. Handset based solutions are also limited as they only protect a tiny number of mobile users. Also, with mobile devices constantly being upgraded and replaced with higher specification devices, security software which is added is often quickly outdated.

 

"One of the most effective answers therefore lies with the mobile operators, as mobile security solutions which are deployed on a network level are both controllable and easily upgraded. Currently many network operators voluntarily police potential fraudsters but as messaging services continue to grow and become more complex, networks need a comprehensive range of features such as anti-spam and virus filtering software, EIR systems and blacklisting, anti-spoofing and anti-flooding technology."

 

Seaton recommended using a variety of mobile security technologies, along with next generation gateways so that operators can detect abnormal patterns in messaging traffic, confirm legitimate senders, filter content and block suspicious messages.
 
"Wi
th appropriate security measures in place mobile operators can protect their subscribers and their networks from potentially damaging security risks. As the rise of applications and services continues, they can also protect their revenues without fear of jeopardising them through malicious attacks. Once customers feel assured they will not receive a barrage of potentially dangerous unwanted messages for downloading an application, they will feel more confident about downloading content and services in the future," said Seaton.

 

However, F-Secure claimed that the model formally introduces an internet tethering functionality that allows users to connect a computer to the phone and surf the internet with no Wi-Fi hotspot required. 
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