Nokia to secure its smartphones

F-Secure has signed a deal with Nokia to provide antivirus software for its Symbian-based smartphones

Nokia is set to implement antivirus software on its mobile phones.

Following a deal with its fellow Finns at antivirus firm F-Secure, Nokia intends to roll out the software on its 6670 smartphone next month.

"As we introduce more smartphones to the market, you might start to see a bigger virus risk," said Kari Tuutti, director of communications for Nokia. "It has been extremely rare to see any mobile phone viruses, but we want to proactively secure our devices."

The antivirus software protects mobile phones that use Symbian operating systems. Phone owners will be offered a free 30-day trial of the software, after which they can buy the full version using the Web browser on their phone.

The software will be available on Nokia's 6670 in October, but on sale to all Nokia users in November.

But the move sparks debate over the necessity for the software. There is currently only one type of mobile phone worm, which is called Cabir. The virus, which appeared earlier this year, politely asks the user whether it should infect their phone, and sends itself to recipients in the address book only when the user answers 'yes'.

On its discovery, antivirus firms dubbed the worm as harmless.

"We have one mobile phone virus now and that was for proof-of-concept," said Patrik Runald, technical manager for F-Secure. "But sooner or later someone will use it as a platform to build something malicious." F-Secure added that the software also protects Symbian against harmful content, such as undesired messages and it provides over-the-air antivirus updates via SMS.

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