The first virus to jump from a personal computer to a mobile device was recently detected, and this ups ante in the battle to protect wireless subscribers from malicious software. Mobile viruses have reared their head in the past but the emergence of multiplatform viruses only serves to underscore the importance of addressing the problem.  The malware, a trojan virus dubbed Crossover, is limited to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows platform, but the potential impact can still be considered pretty large. First detected by the Mobile Antivirus Researchers Association (MARA) about six weeks ago, the group says Crossover is the first known virus that can spread automatically from a Windows-based PC to a Pocket PC (PPC) device via an ActiveSync session.  The Trojan virus replicates itself on the handheld device once an ActiveSync session is detected and then begins to delete documents from the device. The malware wasn’t released into the public and was sent to the association by an anonymous source, but MARA underscores the potential damaging impact of this type of virus. "If this trojan were to escape into the public, however, it would cause some damage to both the infected PC and PPC.  In short, it will use up system resources and delete files found in the My Documents directory on the PDA," reads an article on the MARA website.  While viruses for mobile devices are relatively new, work is already underway to address the looming problem. SmartTrust, a mobile device management company, inked an agreement with F-Secure last year to help wireless operators prevent mobile virus outbreaks (RoW, Oct. 18/05).  SmartTrust has recently expanded its security offering through a partnership with McAfee Inc., which was announced last month. "What this partnership does is bring to the table a unique ability to automatically detect users and keep tracking of what types of devices platforms they have, and able to use that information to proactively offer and protect users from virus outbreaks," Johan Valentin, GM of the Americas for SmartTrust, tells Report on Wireless.  Canadian wireless carriers aren’t operating in a vacuum on this front, suggests Valentin. They take this matter seriously and are watching to see what is taking place south of the border before they make any moves. SmartTrust has held discussions with all of the national carriers in Canada.  "I haven’t seen the same urgency as some of the larger US carriers that have five to 10 times the subscriber base," says Valentin. Canadian operators are "looking at how to better manage the software that goes onto the phone and they have those initiatives ongoing."  With respect to the first virus to jump from a PC to a cell phone, Valentin notes that indeed so-called smartphones could be hit hardest. "As penetration increases, we will be seeing a much different situation with these smartphones and high-end devices in general that can execute files and download files…I think that definitely opens up to an environment that will definitely be hit ," says Valentin.