Steve Orenberg, a former Sophos executive who now runs Kasperkys U.S. unit, defended the companys push into the mobile anti-virus market. "Our philosophy is to be prepared. There is evidence that this will become a big problem, and we are positioning ourselves to be ready with a product," Orenberg said. He dismissed suggestions that Kaspersky was a party to overblowing the risk. "Were not telling people that theyre currently at severe risk. Compared to other problems with malware, the cell phone issue is not a high-priority issue right now. But if this problem were to accelerate like we think it will, we will be ready with a solution. "The threat is there. Its up and coming and its in the wild. Theres no sense in waiting for something bad to happen to be able to react."Mobile security needs a major upgrade, one columnist writes. Click here to read more. If and when cell phone malware becomes a legitimate threat, MacDonald said he thinks the anti-virus vendors should focus their investments in a different direction. "They are trying to replicate the desktop anti-virus model to the handset devices, and I dont think thats an efficient way to address the problem," he said. "The place where this threat should be addressed is at the network level. With handsets, the only way malware can get to the device is to go through the network. It would be more efficient and effective to have the wireless service providers do the scanning within the network," MacDonald said. Sophos Mastoras downplayed the threat entirely. "When you read the alerts and the news stories, you get the impression that virus infections are happening every day. Thats just not true. We dont think its the threat its been made out to be," he said. "We just dont see the market demand or need for it at this moment," Mastoras added. "There are more pressing security issues that folks should be concerned about." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Gartners MacDonald was blunt in his assessment of the immediate risk. "I havent had any clients call up asking for advice on dealing with a cell phone virus problem. And I dont know anyone in the real world who has been affected," he told eWEEK.com.