AT&T is to launch a consumer wireless security service to combat cyber attacks on mobile devices.

According to Reuters, the service is expected in 2012 and will meet the big spike in security attacks on smartphones. John Stankey, head of AT&T's enterprise business, said: “Hackers always go to where there's a base of people to attack. I do believe it'll become as relevant in the mobile space as it is today in the desktop. You'll see that occur in the wireless world.”

The company already sells security services to businesses but it has yet to offer consumer services, such as anti-virus software. “When you start asking them what's your willingness to pay for a solution, if they're not a little frightened, their willingness to pay is nothing,” Stankey said.

However he admitted that the reluctance to pay will probably change in the coming year as consumers become more aware of security threats.

Gareth Maclachlan, chief operating officer of AdaptiveMobile, said: “AT&T, along with other global operators, is acknowledging the growing consumer awareness of mobile security threats. As the number of smart devices continues to grow, consumer trust in their mobile services is an important factor in safeguarding customer satisfaction and with it revenues for the carrier.

“Whilst many of the threats must continue to be dealt with at a network level, AdaptiveMobile is also seeing a growing trend in ‘personalised security solutions' for both enterprise and consumers.

“End-users are becoming increasingly aware of the growing number of security threats and considering in investing in solutions to help them protect both themselves, their businesses and families against them.”