F-Secure and SmartTrust have teamed up to deliver anti-virus software to mobile devices.

F-Secure's anti-virus software will be incorporated into SmartManage Protect, a mobile security platform from SmartTrust that allows mobile operators to manage anti-virus software on subscriber handsets over the air. If mobile operators detect a vulnerability, the antivirus software can be delivered automatically.

The process is similar to the way a consumer may automatically download regular anti-virus updates to a laptop, said Tim De Luca-Smith, communications manager for SmartTrust. Using SmartManage Protect, regular updates can be delivered, and anti-virus subscriptions can be transferred between handsets if a user changes one through device detection software, Smith said.

The cost of a mobile anti-virus service has not been determined yet, Smith said. SmartTrust has met with "four or five" large mobile operators that are planning to start antivirus services within the next 12 months to 16 months, he said.

It's expected that mobile devices will increasingly come under attack from viruses, Smith said, especially handsets with Wi-Fi cards that connect to public networks and then back on organisational networks. Other services on mobile phone that may make them more vulnerable include the ability to open e-mail attachments and removable storage cards, Smith said.