Android could bring new virus threat

Security experts have warned that more open mobile platforms such as Android will lead to greater risks from viruses.

Android could bring new virus threat

“If Android becomes a fully open platform … and when such a platform becomes more common, risks are greater than with the current platform kings such as Symbian,” says Mikko Hypponen, head of research at F-Secure.

“The key issue here is whether Android will go for totally open systems or whether they will adopt a system for signing approved applications like Symbian,” he warned on his blog. “If unsigned and unknown applications written by anyone have full access to phone features, we smell trouble.”

Security specialists also pointed to potential risks arising from Apple’s plans to open its software platform to third party developers.

“Apple has dealt very elegantly in the past with security issues. There will be issues. Apple will fix them,” says Jan Volzke, global marketing head at McAfee’s mobile unit.

While the risk of a mobile phone becoming infected is still relatively small, McAfee believes the issue is set to become more pressing as mobile internet finds greater traction in the market and could serve to undermine its growth.

“Concerns about specific mobile security risks or reliability of services is a crucial issue for operators, particularly in mature markets,” says Victor Kouznetsov, senior vice president at McAfee’s mobile unit. “Consumer fears are growing in tandem with increased mobile functionality.”

The first handsets based on Google’s Android platform are expected to appear in the second half of the year.

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