McAfee debuts VirusScan Wireless for mobile phones

McAfee offers first look at wireless anti-virus technology residing on smartphones as new breakthrough technology extends world-class virus protection to handhelds including smartphones, WAP phones and PDAs.

McAfee is developing what it claims to be the first virus scanning engine to protect all mobile Internet devices.

SINGAPORE - McAfee, a Network Associates business, today offered an early look at anti-virus technologies for mobile phones, to be offered as part of the McAfee Wireless family of products.

VirusScan Wireless for Mobile brings McAfee into the burgeoning wireless market, scanning applications locally on smartphone devices to safeguard critical data against potential attacks by viruses, worms or Trojan horses.

McAfee's new resident "micro engine" designed for smartphones is based on McAfee VirusScan technology. The new micro scanning engine examines files and applications for viruses and malicious code locally on smartphone devices. Existing smartphone devices include the Nokia Communicator, Ericsson R380 and the Handspring VisorPhone.

The VirusScan Wireless for Mobile solution will have the ability to automatically update virus definition files through a smartphone's Internet connection capability.

According to Giga Information Group, there will be over 32 million PDAs and smartphones by the year 2003. Internet access on these devices will continue to contribute to the spread of viruses and malicious code across the Internet.

Independent research firm Computer Economics said that US$12.7 billion in damage was caused worldwide last year from viruses and malicious code attacks.

In addition to the PalmOS virus discovered earlier this year, mobile phone users in Spain saw the first mobile phone scare with VBS/Timofonica, a worm that sent notice messages to mobile phone users on a specific subscription service.

"As the power and functionality of wireless devices increases, so does the threat from Trojans, hoaxes, denial of service attacks and viruses," said Deb Dutta, regional director, Southeast Asia/India, Network Associates. "By developing a small resident scanning engine that can be moved to a range of different mobile devices, including smartphones, we are proactively taking steps to protect users from possible wireless malware attacks."