Mobile Security – What’s the fuss about?
I said it before and the trend continues. More and more employees, including executives, are demanding to leverage their personal mobile devices in more and more ways. The term "BYOM", or bring your own mobile, is popping up everywhere. This is spreading more and more mobile malware, including data theft, hijacking of calling capability and other fraud. The result is that IT and CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) are now having to support Apple iOS and Google Android if they accept this BYOM trend.
I’ve read that malware infecting mobile devices grew by over 300% in 2011, and even faster this year. It doesn’t proliferate as randomly or as fast as on PCs but is mainly spread through the downloading of apps from one of the big app stores. Some apps are pretty smart, quietly lying dormant and not initiating any elicit activities for an extended period. And then one day, BAM! The good news is that once an app store hears about this, they can put a stop to the spread by removing the malicious app. As I wrote about a month or so ago, new services to “certify” an app is malware-free are surfacing and sound like a good way to start to get a handle on this problem.
Beyond malware, mobile devices are stolen or lost constantly – do you know anyone who hasn’t lost one yet? Even protection tools available to wipe out data on a lost or stolen device aren’t a full solution. It’s said that half of smartphone users don’t use a password because of the hassle of having to enter it after a few minutes of non-use. This means that between the time a mobile device is lost and reported and the data is wiped, access to corporate information might be compromised for hours. I heard a story recently of someone losing and recovering their smartphone, and during that time their e-mail and other data were compromised in a very embarrassing way.
The silver lining in these mobile breaches is that they create opportunities for new companies to get started that solve these problems. These companies grow and often become Corum clients, and turn into part of a larger company. And wealth is created and more new companies are started. It’s really a nice cycle.
Posted by JonScott, Vice President on 04 May 2012