Nokia to inoculate phones with antivirus

Through software pact with Symantec, phone maker plans to ward off security threats to mobile handsets.

Alorie Gilbert
Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Nokia has entered a pact with Symantec to help secure its mobile phones from viruses that target certain kinds of handsets.

Under the agreement, announced Wednesday, Nokia plans to arm its Series 60 smart phones with the Symantec Mobile Security antivirus program. The software is designed to ward off attacks that could compromise the extensive data, such as contact databases, that people store on their smart phones, the companies said. The devices typically have many computer-like features, including e-mail and Web browsing, which have made them vulnerable to attacks.

Cell phone virus outbreaks are a small but emerging threat, security experts have said. Security specialists F-Secure and Trend Micro, which develop antivirus software for handsets, claim the malicious code is proliferating. Yet research firm Gartner recently predicted that a fast-spreading phone virus or worm is unlikely to appear before 2008.

Nokia series 60 handsets running the Symbian operating system are the target of the CommWarrior Trojan horse, which has been spotted spreading.

Nokia and Symantec said their agreement follows two years of joint work to develop mobile security technology. Earlier this year, software maker Kaspersky Lab released its own mobile antivirus software.