In many ways the mobile phone of today can do many things that PCs can do. And even the basic phones can do things that the PC couldn’t do 15 years ago, namely be used to send e-mail, browse the Web and send instant messages. That handset – smart phone or otherwise – offers more power than computers just two decades ago.
Isn’t technology grand? Well it is, except the downside of all this is that phones of today are also becoming more and more susceptible to the same problems that have long plagued the desktop PC. The more complex a device, the more damage that it seems can be done to it. Speaking to Smartphone.biz.news Samu Konttinen, vice president of mobile solutions at F-Secure, discussed some of the big dangers to smartphones, notably viruses.
And the danger will likely only grow. Industry analyst firm Gartner is forecasting that by 2010 there will be four billion mobile phones in people’s hands, compared with 1.3 billion computers worldwide. So while the threat of a powerful virus that could take down computers is a scary thing, imagine what it means if there is the potential to take down four billion mobile phones.
Of course the dangers might not affect everyone. If you don’t surf the Web, download e-mail or open attachments on your phone the threat level falls substantially.
The other notable point is that viruses may never reach the threat level of PC viruses simply because there are so many operating systems. A virus for a Symbian phone would do nothing (most likely anyway) to a Windows Mobile handset. Of course as smartphone penetration increases virus threats could rise. Maybe Apple users, who like to boast that they are typically free of virus threats, will face new dangers if someone decides to go after the iPhone.
The bottom line is that it is a brave new world, and unfortunately bad people will always want to play havoc with what technology has to offer. The more a device can the greater the danger that it could be taken down.