Cell Phones: Viruses are Catching

Cell Phones: Viruses Are Catching

Newsweek Nov. 20, 2006 issue - Trojan horses, worms and other nasty viruses have gone wireless and could be targeting your cell phone. CNET.com called 2006 "the year of mobile malware," and software experts say the number of known viruses has more than doubled since January. Phone bugs infect your handset, then multiply via text or picture messages sent to your contacts. Your phone might still function, but all those texts can spike your bill and clog the network.

Phone companies and service providers are scrambling to block mobile malware. Jan Volzke, an executive at McAfee, says some mobile-phone companies now implant virus protection directly in handsets?but adds that the vast majority of users remain vulnerable. Some 30 million devices are protected, he says, but there are 2.6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. No stand-alone antivirus software is currently available to consumers. Experts say the most important protection may be caution -- not opening odd-looking text messages, for starters. But most people remain unaware there's a threat. "Anything that abuses this naivete could really hit big time," says Volzke.

Lee Hudson URL:

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Copyright 2006 MSNBC.com

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