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Will virus writers take aim at Google Android?

As Google gears up to load its open-source operating system on mobile phones, security researchers raise the question of whether it will attract malicious virus writers.

As Google gears up to roll out its long-awaited Android, security researchers are raising the question of whether it may bring on an onslaught of malicious software for mobile phones.

Android, which aims to be the next mobile phone platform via its open-source operating system, has security researchers pondering the potential for an increase in mobile viruses.

"The key issue here is whether Android will go for totally open systems or whether they will adopt a system for signing approved applications (such as Symbian). If unsigned and unknown applications written by anyone have full access to phone features, we smell trouble," security researcher F-Secure notes in its blog.

Symbian has also had its share of outbreaks, including the Lasco.A virus and various versions of the Cabir worm.

Users themselves, however, remain the greatest threat to security, whether its on their cell phone or PC. Google can take various steps to harden the security around Android, but users who open nefarious attachments on their phones can null and void such work.

The question of whether virus writers would want to even take the time to attack Android will likely be based on whether its adoption becomes prevalent. After all, these attacks that pilfer personal information aim to use it for financial gain. And without a lot of targets, why bother?

If the iPhone is any example, the installed base has risen fairly quickly. Security experts were already stacking up the potential issues the iPhone faced, even as users diligently stood in line waiting to snap up the device on its debut.