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How Vital Is Antivirus Software on Smartphones?


How Vital Is Antivirus Software on Smartphones?

As smartphones continue to increase in both popularity and functionality, one of the questions being asked by millions of users is “does my smartphone need an antivirus software?”  It’s a good question, but unfortunately the answer to that question is not a simple one.  In this article we will take a look at the current state of smartphone security, including a special section on each of the more popular smartphones today:  the Blackberry, the iPhone and the Android.

What we have been doing so far

By now, most computer users are well aware of some of the dangers they face online.  Between viruses, spyware and malware programs the Internet can pose quite a danger without the proper security.  As a result, most people include some sort of antivirus program on their desktop computer or laptop—just to be on the safe side.  It’s a good idea, but with smartphones having many of the same browsing capabilities as most computers these days, has the time come when we have to protect our phones as well?  According to many experts, the answer is yes, and while this same answer may not currently apply to all the smartphones on the market, their increased popularity just may necessitate some sort of antivirus protection in the future.

What do we face now

Prior to the time when smartphones could download and send apps, the virus problem associated with smartphones was minimal and rarely discussed.  However, now that smartphones are everywhere, with so many capabilities, they have become for somebody, one of the most popular communication tools that they possess.  Unfortunately, this rise in popularity also gets the attention of those who create malware, spyware and viruses, and unless we’re careful, the 2004 bug in the Symbian mobile operating system may become more and more commonplace.

The truth is this:  As smartphone become more and more necessary to our daily lives; when we use them to check email, shop or bank, there will always be people out there who are bent on destruction, creating malware and trying to disrupt the chain of communication.

What about the Blackberry?

According to the people who make the Blackberry smartphone, additional security is not necessary due to their “on-board security,” but many experts are quick to disagree and insist that it is just a matter of time before the popularity of the Blackberry model makes it a target for a virus attack.  Nevertheless, Blackberry holds firm to their security statement, saying simply:

“The BlackBerry solution focuses on containing malicious programs. The BlackBerry software and core applications are digitally signed to ensure integrity and control access to the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Thus, the core BlackBerry smartphone functionality can’t be directly accessed by other applications.”

The iPhone?

iPhones run a different operating system than most other models, but they do not feature any added security software, believing, perhaps, that their phones are completely safe.  In one way this is certainly true.  Because the iPhone does not share apps, the risk of spreading a virus from phone to phone is very low, however there have been a few reports indicating a breech in iPhone’s security system, especially when those phones have been altered or changed in some way.  This can cause the iPhone to download and run unauthorized software, including many spyware programs which can slow your system down and may even lead to identity theft.

As the new iPhone gets ready to be launched, we will have to see if there are any changes made in their security protocol to address this uncertain future.

How About My Android?

Unlike many smartphones which are Windows or Symbian-based, the Android runs on a platform akin to Linux.  Naturally, this means there are fewer virus attacks with the Android, mainly because most of the harmful programs are written to attack Windows-based programs, because that’s what the majority of people use.  However this does not mean that the Android is completely immune to the threat of attack.

Currently there is an antivirus program out called Phone Guard, which addresses the potential liability of the Android, but to date, except for a few isolated incidents, the Android ranks very high in terms of security—at least when measured against Windows Mobile and Symbian-based phones.

What Security or Antivirus Programs Are Available for Smartphones?

Glad you asked.  Most of the current antivirus programs for smartphones are only available for those phones running either Windows Mobile or Symbian, and since this is where most of the problems seem to be, perhaps that’s a good thing.  Below is a short list of just a few of those antivirus programs:

A Look at Some of the

Smartphone Security Solutions

Smartphone users running Symbian and Windows Mobile seem to be the most vulnerable to smartphone viruses and malware, and the industry has responded with several antivirus solutions to choose from if you are running these systems.  These include:

ESET Mobile Antivirus
ESET Mobile Antivirus offers real-time solutions for a number of Internet threats and updates regularly to keep you protected. Currently ESET is only available for the Windows Mobile platform.

Bull Guard Mobile Antivirus
BullGuard Mobile Antivirus is a very popular product for both pocket PCs and smartphones, with versions available for both Windows Mobile

F-Secure Mobile Security for Business
F-Secure Mobile Security Business is the preferred choice for many businesses running complicated smartphone software.  Available on both the Windows Mobile and Symbian platform, F-Secure will help keep you protected during any and all online activities.

Kapersky Mobile Security
Kapersky has been making computer antivirus software for years and is one of the leaders in the field.  Their new mobile security allows you to take the same level of protection you’ve come to expect on your computer, with you everywhere on your mobile smartphone.

McAfee Mobile Security for Enterprise
McAfee Mobile Security for Enterprise is complete antivirus-anti-spyware software which operates on any Windows Mobile-based device.

Trend Micro Mobile Security
Trend Micro is another popular package of Windows Mobile and Symbian antivirus software that protects you against a wide range of computer threats and infections.

Norton Smartphone Security
Symantec Corporation is the unquestioned leader in Internet security, and their new Norton Smartphone Security will provide you with same peace of mind you’ve come to enjoy at home.

Conclusion

The debate still rages on about whether or not certain phones such as the Android, Blackberry or iPhone could benefit from some type of antivirus software.  Many experts agree that it’s just a matter of time before hackers and malicious users discover ways to infiltrate these systems and cause havoc, which is undoubtedly why many popular computer antivirus creators such as Norton and Kapersky have jumped in with both feet to the mobile antivirus market.

This article is written as a Guest Author by Steven Papa. Steven Papa’s last venture is the VeryBestSoftware Reviews & Coupons, where he gives the latest Norton 360 promotional code and Symantec Endpoint Protection Review

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Abdul Rahman+ is a young enthusiastic student from Pakistan. Follow on Facebook, Digg, Twitter and Stumble Upon

2 Responses to “How Vital Is Antivirus Software on Smartphones?”

  1. John Mak

    Feb 17. 2011

    Very good post Steven,
    I like Norton Smartphone Security which is a very good tool but it’s only available in Windows Mobile or Symbian. I own an android and i have found the AVG suite which is also free and available in android market to download instantly from your smartphone!

    All the best,
    John

    Reply to this comment
    • Rise Dream.Com

      Feb 18. 2011

      I agree Steven has written a very good article. Thanks for your good comments on norton smart phone security.

      Reply to this comment

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