An interesting discussion has started around comments released by one of our competitors, namely Computer Associates. The comments given by Simon Perry, a VP at CA were prompted by the mobile antivirus service that will be available for Orange smartphone users in UK.
What is interesting about the debate is that CA is indirectly claiming that Orange has made a bad decision by launching a mobile security solution. CA seems to be claiming that Orange is either ignorant of what is the real malware situation in their network or of ignoring the data they have and choosing to launch an unnecessary service. CA well knows that all mobile operators have real-time data detailing everything that happens in their networks, and simply cannot be influenced by marketing messages related to what is happening in their network.
Could it be that CA simply does not have competitive mobile security solutions and is explaining their complete lack of success in the mobile market by denying the threat?
The fact is that there are over 300 known mobile malware. That is not hype. We estimate that tens of thousands of phones have been infected so far, worldwide. Smartphones based on open operating systems are being targeted already. This means that the vast majority of phones are safe against current malware, but does not eliminate the damage caused to the users of the smartphones that are or have been infected. It is also a fact that the number of smartphones, mobile malware and infections are on the rise.
Is the threat real? Yes it is. I know, because I've been hit four times myself. Of course I'm running our antivirus on my phone, so I haven't actually been infected. But a Bluetooth virus has tried infecting my phone four times so far. Twice in Helsinki, once in Stockholm and once in London.
Protecting mobile users against current and future threats shows caring and wisdom. It should be applauded rather than criticized.
If we ignore this problem now it's only going to get worse. We can still stop this problem and avoid things getting as bad as they did with PCs.