Once there was a time when the idea of shelling out a yearly fee to keep PCs from being attacked by a malicious program seemed faintly ridiculous. Now, of course, it's a different story.

We're ready to fork out every 12 months for Internet security, and the mobile market is sure to go the same way. As more internet-enabled smartphones arrive in shops, a greater number of virus writers are going to want to target them.

Mobile menace

UMU Scan, then, is a piece of software that can scan and remove viruses from your phone, but is it too early for this type of insurance? Actually, Symantec has jumped on the bandwagon and by next year we'll see all the major security vendors bringing out their own versions.

Though we might scoff at the thought of mobile anti-virus, mobile anti-spyware, anti-spam and anti-phishing are just around the corner.

Designed for use on any mobile device running Symbian or Windows Mobile, UMU Scan will protect it from any security threats to your personal data and privacy. Although we couldn't test against real threats (which are still denied by some experts), we found the software incredibly easy to use, efficient and lightweight on a phone's resources.

It can be tailored to automatic or manual scans and operates on the quarantine method that your PC's anti-virus relies on. What we really liked was the update service, which works either by GPRS or by synching with a PC.

Although current mobile threats are nothing more than a bunch of skulls and malware that drains your battery, nasty infections designed to grab your eBay or bank account details are sure to be just around the corner.

It's good to know that UMU is all set to watch for such intrusions, and at £20 per year, its cost is consistent with the equivalent protection on a PC. We look forward to the days when software like UMU Scan included in network tariffs for an extra few pounds a month. Maybe that's just round the corner.