First Windows “PocketPC” virus surfaces.

Well, now this is an interesting one.

Microsoft claim that they get more virus’s not because they are less secure, but because they have more market share. It appears they were at least partially wrong.
(Actually, they are totally wrong, they have nowhere near the market share of web servers as does the open source Apache (67.3% Apache, 21.3% MS IIS), and yet Microsoft IIS (The MS web server software) has had many more critical security flaws than has Apache.)

The first Windows CE/PocketPC virus has appeared on the sonar. (PocketPC is the version of Windows designed for PDA devices, and it’s closely related to the version of Windows that Microsoft created for use in mobile phones.) This virus is more of a “proof of concept” more then a serious effect to inflict pain on anyone, but I’m of the opinion it’s a sign of things to come.

Windows CE and PalmOS make up the vast majority of the PDA market. Up until recently PalmOS was far an away the leader of the market, and it’s only recently that PocketPC has grown to rival it.
In all the time that PalmOS was the champion, it was relatively unaffected by security flaws or virus’s, though it should be noted that there have been a couple, but they never spread or reached any sort of serious numbers.

Because PocketPC is in some ways based on its bigger brothers, it’s not going to be as hard to create new virus’s and worms then it is for a totally unrelated platform like Palm or Linux. (Sharp offers very cool Linux based PDA’s.)

It’s a shame that Mozilla don’t make a range of tools for PocketPC, we might be able to head off the flood of worms, trojans and virus’s that are sure to follow as PocketPC grows in popularity. Fortunately it appears that Opera is the most popular browser of the embedded market, so that might help to some degree (but MS will never let it get a foothold in PocketPC, it’s not their way. Opera is however the leading browser for the Symbian OS).

Oh, almost forgot, you can read more about the PocketPC virus story at TheRegister and for virus details head over to Symantec.



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