Analysts predict bonanza for mobile anti-malware

Analysts predict bonanza for mobile anti-malware

Vendors urged to hook up with operators in bid to boost sales

The worldwide mobile anti-malware market is expected to be worth $61.4m in 2007 and reach an estimated $2.17bn in 2014, according to new research.

A report from Frost & Sullivan highlights the growing threat of mobile malware, which it claims is due primarily to the increased sophistication of mobile phones.

But the analyst firm pointed out that mobile anti-malware vendors have not seen a high return on investment because of a lack of awareness in the market.

Frost & Sullivan urged vendors to set up technology and distribution partnerships with other members in the industry "value chain" in order to be fully prepared when the market accelerates.

"Mobile phones are becoming ever more sophisticated," said Katie Gotzen, an industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

"Smartphone use is rising, while advanced capabilities such as MMS, Bluetooth and internet access are increasingly becoming standard features. But few people realise that it is these extra capabilities that make mobile malware attacks possible."

The study pointed to the success of cyber-crime in the PC world where billions of euros have been made from malware attacks such as online identity theft and intellectual property theft.

Frost & Sullivan believes that the growing sophistication of mobile handsets will encourage online criminals to turn their attention to this area.

Mobile threats have been increasing rapidly in recent years, according to the report, which claims that five times as many security events were reported by mobile operators in 2006 than in 2005.

Although the number of attacks remains low, this is mirrored by low levels of risk awareness in the corporate and consumer segments, the report said.

"Even though awareness is slightly higher in the enterprise space, mobile malware is not a top-of-mind issue," added Gotzen.

"These perceptions have led to a low level of demand for mobile anti-malware products, and have consequently dampened vendor revenues."