Trend Micro upgrade targets smartphone security

AV geared for devices that run Windows Mobile 5.0 and Nokia devices that run Symbian 9.1/S60

Trend Micro Monday unveiled updated security software for smartphones and handheld mobile devices that run some of the latest Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems.

Trend Micro Mobile Security 3.0 includes antivirus software, a firewall and intrusion-detection capabilities. It's geared for devices that run Windows Mobile 5.0 and Nokia devices that run Symbian 9.1/S60 3rd Edition.

Todd Thiemann, director of device security marketing at Trend Micro, acknowledges the number of viruses aimed at the Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems today remains low, but says the potential for attacks will increase as use of smartphones grows.

"The major factors we see here are larger numbers of smartphones, the higher download speeds they have now with networks such as the next-generation GSM and sometimes Wi-Fi," Thiemann says. He notes IDC expects to see almost 100 million "converged mobile devices," or smartphones that combine phone and computer functions, shipped by year-end.

The number of known viruses over the past three years for Windows- and Symbian-based devices is about two dozen, according to Trend Micro. Older Windows-based handhelds have been hit by only a few, including WIN CE Brador, WIN CE DUTS and Cxover. Symbian devices have been targeted more frequently -- most recently by the Acallno, Romride and Flexspy viruses.

When it comes to the question of how IT departments can manage antivirus software for smartphones and mobile devices, the outlook is mixed. Trend Micro has a specialized management console for mobile carriers, but has no management console specifically for enterprise customers using its antivirus software for smartphones and handhelds. IT departments for now will have to be content manually managing the Mobile Security antivirus software separately from their automated desktop antivirus deployments. Looking ahead, Trend Micro plans to offer enterprises a unified management console for smartphones and desktops in the first half of next year.

Trend Micro competitor Symantec today provides a management console for its anti-virus software for Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphones and handhelds, which it announced earlier this month. But Symantec's Mobile AntiVirus 4.0 management console is separate from that used with Symantec's desktop antivirus products. It, too, plans to unify its management consoles.

Trend Micro Mobile Security 3.0 costs US$34.95. The Windows Mobile 5.0 version is due to ship this week, and the version for Symbian OS 9.1/S60 3rd Edition is due out in early 2007.

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