Leader: Why Orange has been a bit green on security

They've bought the hype of mobile viruses...
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

They've bought the hype of mobile viruses...

Today Orange announced it has struck a deal with F-Secure to provide antivirus protection to mobile phones.

This is not a great day for the security industry. What this is, in fact, is the end game in a fairly shameful period of serious over-hyping and marketing from F-Secure to convince people there is a threat and that they have the solution, available of course at a cost.

The company has long banged on about the threat of mobile phone viruses and it seems that the folks at Orange have finally fallen for it. If it weren't for the fact that the people at F-Secure genuinely seem to believe their own hype, they'd probably be laughing all the way to the bank right now.

In a nutshell the company has told anybody who will listen that mobile phone viruses are the next big bad, with very little evidence beyond some anecdotal tales to support such claims.

Meanwhile anybody else with an informed opinion has largely insisted there's nothing in it but F-Secure has plugged away undeterred, aware that gullibility and profitability could be closely related. And finally it seems their message is sticking – it's a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

F-Secure needed its investment in mobile security to pay off and as such it has created a market from scratch by over-hyping the problem. On one level it's devilishly brilliant, on another it's largely deplorable.

The fact of the matter is that there are no mobile phone viruses which pose a real threat to users and there's very little likelihood that mobile phones will be targeted by virus writers for quite some time, if at all, in any concerted and worrying way.

So the precedent this sets is a major concern. Why not tell people their digital TV boxes need antivirus protection? Or their DVD players or their toasters - and then come up with a product to service the need created? It's a case of preying on the fears of consumers who may believe anything they are told. In return, Orange and F-Secure are getting fat on the profits of fear and uncertainty.

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