Wireless world gets a new worry: viruses

Friday, 28 November 2003, 6:55 PM EST

As more consumers begin surfing the Web and sending e-mail messages on cellphones and handheld devices, along comes a new worry: worms and viruses spread via Internet-enabled equipment.

The problem is still small, with only a few cases reported globally so far. But as operating systems in cellphones become standardized, hackers are likely to begin focusing on vulnerabilities in those systems as they have with personal computers.

And as cellphones and personal digital assistants connect to the Internet at ever faster speeds, more users will be able to download files with attachments, some of which may be infected.

Asia, where high-speed networks and text messaging on mobile phones are common, is the most vulnerable to these threats. As carriers in Europe and North America adopt similar technology, they will confront similar hazards.

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