Smartphones: The new security battlefront | Inquirer Technology

Smartphones: The new security battlefront

/ 11:47 PM November 13, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—With worldwide sales of smartphones expected to exceed 420 million units by the end of this year—accounting for almost 28 percent of the entire global mobile phone purchases—expect cases of malicious software infection and exploitation to also rise.

“Owning to their portability and advanced computing features, smartphones are becoming popular to both consumers and cybercriminals,” warned Mitchel Chang, SVP for Global Technical Support of global cloud security leader Trend Micro Inc.

Smartphones are mobile devices that not only allow one make calls, send or receive text and e-mail messages but also offer Internet accessibility, a variety of programs commonly called “apps” or applications.


Chang, who is also site executive of TrendLabs Philippines (Trend Micro’s multinational research, development, and support center) said that in the first half of the year alone, his company noted a 14-fold increase of malware targeting Android-powered (currently the world’s most popular smartphone operating system) users.


Not safe

But this doesn’t mean other smartphones running on other OS—the iOS, Symbian, Blackberry OS and Windows Phone 7—are safe from viruses, malware, and a number of other “virtual illnesses.”

“As smartphones continue to become more sophisticated and more integral to our everyday work and personal lives, these mini-computers will become an even more enticing target of security threats,” said Chang.

He added that just as consumers currently purchase and install Internet security products for their desktop and laptop devices, they will begin to realize that they will need to extend the same form of protection to their smartphones now that these devices are now capable of handling their online shopping and banking requirements.

Keeping up

However, the phenomenal increase in the number of new smartphones being introduced to the market as well as the number of tasks that they could do only keep security providers up at night.


“These cybercriminals may have the tools they need to effectively turn mobile malware into the biggest customer security problem. However, we are also committed to enhancing the protection that our products could provide, proactively defend our customers’ online experience, as well as securing all aspects of their digital lifestyle,” said Chang.

Trend Micro has, for example, developed an integrated mobile device management and security solution that works within a security framework that spans physical and virtual, PC and non-PC devices. This solution provides organizations a single point of visibility and control for device management and security.

It protects data and limits data loss incidents, whether one is using an iPad, iPhone, RIM Blackberry, or Android-, Windows-, or Symbian-powered devices by enforcing the use of passwords, encrypting data, and remotely wiping data from lost or stolen devices.

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Considering the rising mobile phone risks, Chang said there are some other steps that one could also take: “Never download apps if you are not sure of the site in order to prevent getting infected with malware. If your smartphone has security features, use it; if there’s none, install security software offered by prestigious security provider.”

TOPICS: Internet, mobile phone, smartphones, technology, Virus
TAGS: Internet, mobile phone, smartphones, technology, Virus

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