Feeds

iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid: purveyors of pestilence

Your smartphone wants you dead

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Your smartphone or touchscreen tablet is not your friend — not with flu season approaching.

"If you're sharing the device, then you're sharing your influenza with someone else who touches it," warns Stanford University doctoral student Timothy Julian, discussing deadly digital disease-delivery devices with The Sacramento Bee.

Julian was a co-author of a virus-transmission study in Risk Analysis, published by the sure-to-be-the-life-of-the-party guys 'n' gals at the Society for Risk Analysis.

The study by Julian and his band of bug boffins determined that viruses can easly be transmitted by touch — so stop sharing your phone, especially if the person to whom you're about to pass it has rheumy eyes, a raspy voice, or just coughed into their sleeve.

"If you put virus on a surface, like an iPhone, about 30 per cent of it will get on your fingertips," Julian warned, noting that "a fair amount of it may go from your fingers to your eyes, mouth or nose."

Or, as the abstract for his study describes his team's research methodology: "We develop a stochastic-mechanistic model of exposure to rotavirus from nondietary ingestion iterated by simulated intermittent fomes-mouth, hand-mouth, and hand-fomes contacts."

A "fomes", by the way, is the singular of "fomites", which our dictionary defines as "objects or materials that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture."

Or your iPhone, Droid, BlackBerry Torch, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, or any number of other 21st-century touchscreen plague rats.

Although Julian's study focused on viruses, bacteria also have an affinity for phones. After testing 30 mobile handsets, Which? magazine determined: "Mobile phones can harbour on average 18 times more living bacteria than a flush on a gents' toilet."

Although the Which? testing discovered the highest crud count to be of relatively benign bugs, their "hygiene expert" also turned up other lovelies such as "faecal Coliforms (often associated with faecal matter) and Enterobacteriaceae (which includes bugs such as Salmonella)."

Of course, where there is danger, there is also opportunity — and the accessorizers at Proporta have carped the diem, and added disease defense to their portfolio: the steriTouch line of bug-busting cases for the iPhone and iPod.

A Proporta spokesperson told the Bee: "The filthiest things we encounter on a regular basis are computer keyboards and our mobile phones," claiming with jaw-dropping pathogenetic precision that the average mobile phone has 25,127 germs per square inch.

The conclusion is clear: your touchscreen phone or tablet — or that of your closest mate — is a seething caldron of infectious evil. Touch it, then touch your own sweet self, and pestilence awaits. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.