The lack of a catastrophic malware attack or data theft on mobile devices doesn't mean today's tools are safe. In fact, it's likely just the calm before the storm, experts say.

That's not a comforting thought to industry-watchers, considering how widespread mobile platforms have become among consumers and businesses. Worldwide mobile phone sales topped 1.15 billion last year, according to research firm IDC, while Gartner analysts have reported that smartphones are expected to outsell laptops this year.

IDC also forecasts an estimated 304 million smartphones in use by 2011 -- trends that some say may be lulling IT buyers and the public into false sense of security.

"The platforms offer limited or no inherent security features or security features tailored to a specific activity, such as e-mail, even though they are evolving into general-purpose mobile computing platforms," Mark Komisky, CEO of security vendor Bluefire, told InternetNews.com.

Two years ago, security firm F-Secure detected a worm that could move from a Symbian phone to a PC. The start of 2008 brought another Symbian phone threat: a worm that disguised itself as multimedia file (MMS) to deceive users into unknowingly installing its malicious software.

That virus, detected by security vendor Fortinet and labeled SymbOS/Beselo.A!worm, targeted several models of Symbian S60-enabled Nokia devices.

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