This chapter examines the scope of malicious software (malware) threats to mobile devices. The stakes for the wireless industry are high. While malware is rampant among 1 billion PCs, approximately twice as many mobile users currently enjoy a malware-free experience. However, since the appearance of the Cabir worm in 2004, malware for mobile devices has evolved relatively quickly, targeted mostly at the popular Symbian smartphone platform. Significant highlights in malware evolution are pointed out that suggest that mobile devices are attracting more sophisticated malware attacks. Fortunately, a range of host-based and network-based defenses have been developed from decades of experience with PC malware. Activities are underway to improve protection of mobile devices before the malware problem becomes catastrophic, but developers are limited by the capabilities of handheld devices.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Trojan Horse: A Trojan horse is any software program containing a covert malicious function.
Exploit Software: Exploit software is written to attack and take advantage of a specific vulnerability.
Virus: A virus is a piece of a software program that attaches to a normal program or file and depends on execution of the host program to self-replicate and infect more programs or files.
Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is designed to detect and remove computer viruses and worms and prevent their reoccurrence.
Worm: A worm is a stand-alone malicious program that is capable of automated self-replication.
Vulnerability: Vulnerability is a security flaw in operating systems or applications that could be exploited to attack the host.
Malware Software: Malware software is any type of software with malicious function, including for example, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware.
Social engineering: Social engineering is an attack method taking advantage of human nature.
Smartphone: Smartphones are devices with the combined functions of cell phones and PDAs, typically running an operating system such as Symbian OS.