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Don't hang up on mobile virus warnings

If you are a smartphone user, you probably hover between being paranoid about mobile viruses and being ignorant that they exist. Or, you just don't care.

If you are a smartphone user, you probably hover between being paranoid about mobile viruses and being ignorant that they exist. Or, you just don't care.

After all, the variety of platforms is said to make it highly difficult for mobile viruses to cause serious damage.

With the emergence of more and smarter handsets, and seeing how our precious gadgets have become extensions of ourselves, apathy is not an option going forward.

McAfee, which today released their predictions of the Top 10 Security Threats for 2007, expects more mobile malware coming our way over the next 12 months. Just like how attacks in cyberspace have become financially motivated, for-profit mobile attacks is predicted to increase in 2007. According to the head of McAfee Avert Labs Joe Telafici, there is just too much on the cell phone today for it to stay out of the limelight.

Last week, at a security conference in Singapore, F-Secure's malware response team manager Patrik Runald demonstrated--using Bluetooth connection--just how pesky a mobile virus can be.

The user receives a message on his phone, which has a request prompting the user to answer 'Yes' to accept or 'No' to reject. However, when the user selects 'No', the message persistently shows up, and prevents the user from using any other functions on the phone. When the user selects 'Yes' over a few successive times, his mobile becomes infected.

Runald commented: "The viruses we see so far don't actually [infect] on their own--they require the user to make a choice [to accept]." In other words, you can do yourself in with your own stupidity.

Here's a tip: If you ever receive one of the messages that doesn't seem to go away no matter how many times you select 'No', remember all you need to do is to walk away--out of the distance coverage. It's really that easy, for now.