, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 135-147

Testing and evaluating virus detectors for handheld devices

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The widespread use of personal digital assistants and smartphones gives securing these devices a high priority. Yet little attention has been placed on protecting handheld devices against viruses. Currently available antivirus software for handhelds is few in number. At this stage, the opportunity exists for the evaluation and improvement of current solutions. By pinpointing weaknesses in the current antivirus software, improvements can be made to properly protect these devices from a future tidal wave of viruses. This research evaluates four currently available antivirus solutions for handheld devices. A formal model of virus transformation that provides transformation traceability is presented. Two sets of ten tests each were administered; nine tests from each set involved the modification of source code of two known viruses for handheld devices. The testing techniques used are well established in PC testing; thus the focus of this research is solely on handheld devices. Statistical analysis of the test results show high false negative production rates for the antivirus software and an overall false negative production rate of 47.5% with a 95% confidence interval between 36.6% and 58.4%. This high rate shows that current solutions poorly identify modified versions of a virus. The virus is left undetected and capable of spreading, infecting and causing damage.