Mobile phone viruses may seem a distant threat for many users, but one antivirus software vendor has already announced plans to tackle the anticipated problem.
Finnish company F-Secure claims viruses targeting wireless applications protocol (Wap) phones will eventually become a problem, even though current Wap phones are too simple to be at risk.
F-Secure has developed the first antivirus product for Wap servers that can filter out viruses and so-called trojan horses before they reach users.
"In the middle to long term we can expect to see viruses written specifically for mobiles and handheld devices," said John Bloodworth, an antivirus expert at F-Secure. "Phones may send random calls, or be prevented from calling out. Viruses are not a direct threat yet, but when they appear this protection will be in place."
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus software vendor Sophos, said viruses are unlikely to appear in Wap devices for a long time.
"There is certainly the potential for anything to happen, but there is nothing at the moment. I haven't seen any viruses for handheld computers yet, and I would imagine we would see these emerge before viruses on phones," he said.
"Most antivirus companies will keep an eye out for potential Wap viruses, but it is not something IT managers should get worried about just yet."
However, F-Secure said this week it will implement its antivirus software on Hewlett Packard's Wap gateway. The software will scan web-based content to ensure that information downloaded by mobile phone users is free from viruses.
Pricing for the application, which runs on Windows NT, Linux and HP-UX environments, will be released in the second quarter.
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