December 08, 2000, 2:44 PM — Although only the first faint indications of PDA virus activity have appeared,
antivirus software vendors are already at work brewing up antidotes for this
potentially troublesome problem.
Among these is F-Secure Corp., which is busily working to extend its antivirus
expertise into the PDA world, and, just as determinedly, into the wireless domain,
according to Tanya Candia, F-Secure's vice president of worldwide marketing.
Symantec and McAfee have also announced plans and products to address viruses that
afflict PDAs and wireless devices. Activity became pronounced late this summer after
the sighting of the first Palm OS Trojan horse.
Candia suggested that, as F-Secure is headquartered in Finland, a country with a
great deal of wireless expertise, F-Secure may have a leg up on competitors as
antivirus methods are mapped over to the world of wireless devices. In fact, F-Secure
earlier this year acquired privately-held Modera Point Oy, another Finnish firm, in
order to strengthen F-Secure's plan to extend its security architectures into the
The company now offers content security software for WAP (Wireless Application
Protocol) gateways and antivirus protection for Symbian EPOC devices. F-Secure also
offers protection against the Palm OS Phage.963 virus and the Palm Liberty Trojan, both
of which have come to the public's attention.
There is a bit of irony for antivirus folk at work protecting WAP environments, said
Candia. "In this instance, it's about protecting things going out from the server," she
noted. F-Secure offers software that scans WAP scripts going out to phones from WAP
"The WAP phones themselves are not that intelligent, and there is no need for
security on the phones themselves with the current protocol," said Candia. This will
change greatly, she said, when the next version of WAP goes online.
And while there are no cases of WAP viruses to date, the potential threat is
significant. "If a virus gets loose, it will spread a lot faster than anything in the
PC world," said Candia.
F-Secure is making other uses of wireless technology as well. A new subscription
offering, dubbed F-Secure Radar, uses wireless communications to broadcast news about
viruses to the PDAs, mobile phones, and pagers of IT managers.
Among other activity at F-Secure comes word this week that the company has forged a
deal with security specialist Finjan Software. Under the terms of the agreement,
Finjan's SurfinShield Corporate product will integrate with F-Secure's antivirus
security management console.