Security threats to smart phones jump in 2010
Security firm AdaptiveMobile revealed that 2010 saw the highest number of mobile malware infections aimed at smart-phone users. Reports of such incidents were up 33% from 2009.
Not surprisingly, malware created just for the Google Android mobile platform — the fastest-growing platform throughout 2010 — increased four-fold in the number of exploits. However, the total number of exploits remains lower than its older platform counterparts. Smart phones running Java-based applications saw the second-highest increase in malware reports, up 45% from 2009.
AdaptiveMobile concludes that cyber criminals are shifting their focus toward the technologies and platforms that likely are to see the most widespread adoption going forward.
Certainly smartphone security is a key issue for the enterprise, and 2011 could represent a difficult year as that sector embraces more than just e-mail on smart phones. Mobile applications are coming to the forefront and so are employee-owned devices that want to access both corporate applications and less secure applications such as social networking.
Ojas Rege, vice president of products and marketing with mobile device management company MobileIron, said that 2011 will be marked by the enterprise moving beyond mobile e-mail and calendaring to a focus on mobile productivity and corporate applications. He said about half of its customers have plans for applications in 2011.
“The iPad has been a catalyst,” he said.
MobileIron’s solution is to deliver an “enterprise app storefront” for several smart-phone platforms, combined with a policy engine to ensure that mobile applications are secure. It enables an enterprise’s IT staff to approve the apps, set policy and push them to end users. Moreover, IT can decide which apps to allow and which ones to keep out by blocking rogue apps that might create security holes or violate acceptable-use policies.
Indeed, the line between personal and corporate use will be an issue many vendors will tackle in 2011. VMware and smart-phone vendor LG have formed a partnership to build smart phones that will include a separate corporate identity and e-mail account that is distinct from a user’s personal account using VMware’s virtualization software.
That means the screen on the devices will show up as just another application, but the application is its own secure corporate entity that includes corporate functions such as e-mail.
Those phones are expected to come to the U.S. market in the first or second quarter of 2011.
At any rate, IT will be challenged in 2011 to meet the demands of their workers while keeping their corporations safe from threats posed by smart phones.
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