The Washington Times - May 29, 2008, 03:48PM

This isn’t something I’ve heard very much about, though it isn’t very hard to make the jump. Cell phones are increasingly taking on the attributes of personal computers, which we all know are constantly prone to threats of worms, viruses, spam and the like. In particular, smartphones that use operating systems powered by Windows Mobile, Symbian, Linux, Palm or Research in Motion require protection, according to Columbus, OH-based SMobile Systems.

The company, which markets security products tailored to mobile devices, says there are hundreds, maybe even more than 1,000, known mobile viruses.

So how do they spread? Much like they do on a PC. Users of Web-enabled phones download programs and other files—photos, video clips, ringtones, for example—that could be infected.

As with computers, the impact is widespread. Earlier this year, Nokia smartphones were the target of the Beselo worm, a virus that spread as a multimedia file with titles of Beauty.jpg, Sex.mp3 or Love.rm, according to SMobile. The worm would all the phone numbers in a user’s directory and sent an infected file to each entry.

SMobile has developed security packages for Apple Corp.’s iPhone as well as Google Inc.’s Android mobile platform.

The company’s Virus Guard goes for  $29.99. It sells an SMS Guard, which blocks text messages from senders who are not authorized, for $9.99.

For those who are skeptical of whether such threats exist, SMobile’s Web site has a “Threat Center” detailing recent viruses by platform.</p>
<p><em>&mdash; <a href=””>Kara Rowland</a>, technology reporter, The Washington Times</em></p>