Anti-virus software for future phones released

Mobile phones of the future to have virus-fighting software, after the shock of the Timofonica worm

The first virus-fighting software designed to be compatible with future generations of broadband mobile phones was released Wednesday.

Anti-virus company F-Secure revealed software designed to protect Symbian's EPOC operating system. The EPOC operating system is licensed by major mobile phone companies including Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Panasonic and Sony and is expected to power future mobile Internet devices from these companies.

It is also licensed by computer company Psion, which uses EPOC on its handheld computers.

F-Secure's anti-virus software can be updated and is capable of scanning for new virus signatures once they have been identified.

Although no computer viruses have ever affected EPOC users, F-Secure says that its anti-virus software is preparing the platform for future threats. "There is not a huge security risk at present but we are trying to preempt it," says UK general manager for F-Secure Jason Holloway.

Holloway predicts that with the arrival of third generation mobile phones "the risk [of mobile viruses] will increase by many orders of magnitude".

Existing mobile devices are not immune from computer viruses. An email worm called Timofonica recently found its way onto mobile phones in Spain, having been specifically designed to reach them using an email to SMS gateway.

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