September 23, 2004, 11:26 AM — Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia Corp. will offer mobile antivirus software through F-Secure Corp. as one of the features in its new Nokia 6670 smart phone when it is released in October, the companies announced Thursday.
The Symbian OS (operating system) smart phones will provide on-device protection, similar in fashion to antivirus protection programs for PCs, with automatic over-the-air antivirus updates for a monthly fee. The software will not come loaded into the device, but can be downloaded from the F-Secure Web site, according to Nokia spokeswoman Karoliina Lehmusvirta.
The Nokia 6670 will be the first mobile phone in its Series 60 line to offer the mobile virus protection, though users of other Series 60 mobile phones will also be able to purchase the antivirus protection software, "perhaps as early as October," Lehmusvirta said.
F-Secure is also in talks with other handset manufacturers about offering similar antivirus protection, according to Matias Impivaara, business manager for mobile security services for F-Secure of Helsinki. He declined to name any companies or set out potential dates for availability. "This announcement is a starting point for us and we have been testing the service with a variety of handsets from different vendors and in several operator networks," Impivaara said.
Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, already offers antivirus software through F-Secure for its Communicator line of mobile devices, but Impivaara said the protection offered for the Nokia 6670 is a greatly improved version in terms of both features and pricing options.
"The first general offering for the mobile antivirus software came a couple of years ago, but this version has a whole new infrastructure," Impivaara said. "For example, it has a patented SMS (short message service) update mechanism and HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure) connections. Plus, there is a big difference in the actual client."
The monthly pricing plan is also a first for F-Secure, Impivaara said. The first month of the service will be free trial period and thereafter, users will be charged a licensing fee that will include the cost of updates, he said. "Before you paid on a yearly basis, but by paying monthly, you just buy the protection that you need," Impivaara said.
The final decision about pricing has yet to be made but will be finalized by the time the phone ships "some time in October," Impivaara said. According to the company's current estimates, the antivirus mobile protection licence will cost about