Virus attacks typically seek to infect the mobile device's operating system. Virus-based attacks on mobile devices are essentially file-based; they ride in on a file that must be downloaded (either overtly or covertly) before the attack can be launched.

That’s where an obvious operating-system concern enters the equation and becomes extremely relevant: Any device with the targeted operating system, mobile or not, can be vulnerable. Some of these viruses also target browsers, taking into account the browser and operating-system vulnerabilities.

A bevy of device-based antivirus solutions has popped up, and more come to market by the hour. The traditional desktop and notebook vendors (Symantec, Trend-Micro, Kaspersky, and the like) have morphed their offerings to support the newer devices. On the other side are the new kids on the block - vendors of device security such as Lookout, F-Secure, and such - who provide highly customized smartphone antivirus products.

Which vendor(s) you choose depends on what’s most important for you to protect as you explore this new dimension of your network - the mobile device. For example:

  • If your predominant disposition is toward a common look and feel and consistency across all endpoints (desktops, laptops and mobile devices), then you should look to one of the traditional vendors. Familiar antivirus products that have a large footprint in the desktop environment have extended themselves by getting small enough to fit into a smartphone.

  • If your primary goal is to provide a customized and tailored device-centric antivirus solution, then you would do your due diligence (and do yourself a favor) by checking out the new-age device antivirus vendors and choosing a mobile-centric product to fit your environment.