McAfee is teaming with InnoPath Software to develop technology that will allow mobile device users to update their antivirus software over the air and better guard against a new generation of mobile threats, the companies said Monday.
The collaboration, announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, springs from requests by the companies' mutual clients to provide added mobile security, according to Victor Kouznetsov, senior vice president of mobile solutions at McAfee.
InnoPath is an over-the-air mobile device management company and its flagship DeltaUpgrade Plus software keeps device software up to date. Some of InnoPath's customers ship handhelds with McAfee's antivirus product included and the companies saw an opportunity to align their technologies, Kouznetsov said.
They hope to provide over-the-air antivirus updates to both individual users and enterprise customers some time in 2006, Kouznetsov said.
Standard operating systems and open specifications on mobile devices have made them more vulnerable to attack, McAfee said. It added that coming 3G (third-generation) networks will give device users an even greater ability to access and download content that could increase the spread of malicious content.
However, Sophos security consultant Carole Theriault said that she sees no demand for this kind of mobile security right now.
"Virus writers aren't targeting mobile devices. You'd be more at risk of having someone steal your phone on the train," Theriault said.
She added that mobile devices could be targeted in the future if one dominant operating system provider emerges, but that remains to be seen.
3GSM runs through Thursday.