viruses, simple measures to protect yourself
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA)
has developed consumer tips to assist users to protect
themselves against the risk of mobile phone viruses.
This guide explains what viruses are, how they spread, and
what can be done about them.
What?s a mobile phone virus?
A mobile phone virus or mobile malware - malicious mobile
software - is a computer virus specifically adapted for
the mobile phone environment and designed to spread from
one vulnerable phone to another.
A virus is a program code that replicates by being copied
to another program. Viruses can be transmitted as
attachments to an email or in a download file. Some
viruses take effect as soon as their code is executed;
other viruses can lie dormant. A virus that replicates by
resending itself as an email attachment or as a part of a
network message is known as a worm.
Viruses can range from benign to quite harmful; they can
erase data from the infected phone or send fake messages
purporting to be from the phones owner. How prevalent are
mobile phone viruses? The current security risk from
mobile phone viruses and worms is low.
Until many more smart phones or PDAs are in use, and users
of these phones are regularly exchanging executable files,
the risk will remain low. The mobile industry takes the
threat of viruses very seriously and is continually
monitoring its networks and working to protect users from
any future risk from mobile phone viruses. There are also
some simple measures that individual users can implement
to protect themselves.
What can I do to protect my phone?
The following tips can help prevent problems with viruses
on your phone:
1. Switch to Bluetooth hidden mode. If your phone has
Bluetooth capability, ensure that the Bluetooth capability
is switched to hidden or invisible mode unless you
specifically need it to be visible. This will help prevent
other Bluetooth-enabled devices from finding your phone
(unless you grant them the necessary permission) and will
therefore help protect your phone from worms that spread
using the Bluetooth wireless technology.
2. Exercise caution before opening attachments. When
accepting applications sent via Bluetooth, or opening MMS
attachments, exercise caution, just as you would when
opening an email attachment on your PC, because they may
include harmful software. Ensure the application or
attachment comes from a known source, and is wary of
opening files that have unfamiliar text attached to them,
even if they come from someone you know.
3. Only download content from a trusted source. Trusted
sources may include operator portals and other well-known
brands that offer adequate protection against viruses and
other harmful software. Be aware though that, as with
emails, malicious or fraudulent users may be able to fake
the appearance of a trusted source.
4. Consider anti-virus software. Some software is
available to prevent phone viruses. You may wish to
consider downloading this software.
5. Contact your phone manufacturer if concerned. If you
think you have a virus, call the phone manufacturer?s care
line. They can assist you confirm if it is a virus, and
help fix the problem.
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