The number of mobile viruses increased to approximately 450 different types of malware during the first quarter of 2008 (Lawton 2008). This growth paralleled the growth pattern showed by computer viruses after the first PC virus was released in 1986 (Shih, Lin, Chiang & Shih 2008). This relative slow growth is in part due to the fact that there have been far fewer smart cellphones than PCs, making desktops much more attractive targets. This has changed, with the number of cellphone users globally multiplying to an estimated two billion cellphone users worldwide, thus increasing the attractiveness of cellphones as targets. The risks increase because the users of cellphones have increasingly more access to valuable data. This is compounded by the fact that companies do not always provide the same level of protection for their employees' mobile devices as is provided for their PCs. Although many of us currently do not regard mobile viruses as a serious problem it will not be long before the proliferation of malicious software could make protection a must have. Alternatively, avoid complex features and stick to a simple cellphone.
I in style I There is a virus in your pocket: mobile viruses 30 T oday, cellphone viruses are not regarded as a big deal. But if you think your phone will always be safe... think AlThOuGh ThERE IS A REAl dANGER, again. You might be carrying a virus around fEW VIRuSES hAVE SPREAd SuCCESSfully in your pocket. BECAuSE INfECTING A PhONE IS NOT EASy. A professor made the comment, during ThERE IS A lACK Of PROGRAMMERS WITh one of his lectures, that technology has changed to such an extent that a couple of SuffICIENT KNOWlEdGE Of ThE OPERATING years ago we would buy a cellphone with added features as a bonus. Today, we buy SySTEMS dRIVING CEllPhONES TO WRITE the features with the phone capabilities being the added-extra. Today’s cellphones EffECTIVE MAlWARE. are effectively mobile computers that can be used to communicate. Cellphones are becoming a popular avenue for attack interest or if you want to know more, run because of widespread use and because a Google search or visit your handset they are more connected to the outside provider’s website. world than computers (PCs). Cellphone users want to communicate while viruses This article uses the word ‘virus’ as a want to be communicated. general term for ‘malicious software’ (better known as ‘Malware’). Malicious This is a two-part article which provides software encompasses various techniques an overview of mobile viruses. The article used by hackers, also known as desktops much more attractive targets. aims to create awareness and highlights ‘Phreakers’, to obtain unauthorised access This has changed, with the number of some potential implications. Part One to a cellphone and its data. These include cellphone users globally multiplying discusses a couple of misconceptions and worms, Trojan horses, and viruses. to an estimated two billion cellphone outlines the possible avenues of attack. users worldwide, thus increasing the Part Two focuses on the risks you might Why the fuss? attractiveness of cellphones as targets. be exposed to daily and recommends The number of mobile viruses increased possible tips to mitigate the risks. (To read to approximately 450 different types of Although there is a real danger, few viruses the second part of this article please visit malware during the first quarter of 2008 have spread successfully because infecting www.accountancysa.org.za) (Lawton 2008). This growth paralleled a phone is not easy. There is a lack of the growth pattern showed by computer programmers with sufficient knowledge of The purpose of these articles is to make viruses af
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