Cell phone viruses: deadlier and more infectious
Despite some false alarms cell phone viruses have not yet reached epidemic levels with just 200 viruses compared to some 160,000 computer-based ones. However when they do start to arrive in numbers they may be deadlier and spread even more rapidly due to the way we use these devices. In addition with wireless technologies like Bluetooth these mobile viruses will not only be able to infect by connectivity but also by proximity - just like biological viruses.
The impact of cell phone viruses could be more severe as the cell phone is much more of an "always with us" communications device than a computer. Imagine the hassle of hundreds of unrequested ringtone downloads or even worse - phone calls placed on your behalf to premium numbers or bank IVR Systems.
Businessweek, Mobile Viruses: If Not Now, Soon report a recent Blackberry virus threat which was averted and suggest that it is only a matter of when, not if, mobile viruses start to appear in significant numbers. They also suggest that these viruses will have an easier time proliferating that their PC counterparts.
The Register, Mobile virus epidemics: don’t panic, makes two very important points:
Firstly the ability of cell phones viruses to infect by proximity through technologies like Bluetooth.
Secondly a key 'tipping point' in the growth of mobile viruses being when a critical mass of cell phones are running a single dominant operating system, such as Windows Mobile, rather than the current mix of mobile operating systems which also includes PalmSource's Palm OS, RIM Blackberry, and the Symbian OS.
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