Mobile phone network operators are beginning the process of protecting themselves against mobile phone viruses, but are unlikely to take the problem seriously until a serious incident occurs.
Greg Day, security consultant at McAfee, told vnunet.com at the Infosec show that security companies are laying down the groundwork for security systems that would prevent their networks becoming blocked in the event of a major virus attack.
This is being done as part of due diligence. However, he added that mass deployment of security technology is unlikely to occur until after the first major virus attacks.
"An effective mobile virus is coming; maybe not tomorrow or this year or even next, but it's coming," he said.
"Most network operators are now getting plans ready for an attack and updating their security hardware and software with things like MMS gateway protection. But we're unlikely to see real investment at the handset end until after the first virus."
Day explained that part of the problem is financial. While it is clearly in the networks' interests to invest in technology that keeps their pipes free from blockage, when it comes to handsets the costs may have to be passed onto the consumer.
While there have been plenty of proof-of-concept viruses for mobile phones, no writer has yet managed to create a mass virus that causes significant financial harm to the user.
"Mobile viruses have definite financial possibilities because there's a clear return," said Day. "We are on the cusp of an attack."
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