The growth of mobile phone usage seems to be rapidly outpacing the growth of mobile security adoption. For instance how many people are running anti-virus (AV) software on their laptops and desktops? And now how many are running AV on their mobile phone? There are several free anti-virus applications available for most platforms, including laptops, desktops, tablets or even smartphones. An informal poll conducted by SANS in July 2010 found that approximately 85% of smart phones did not have any AV installed. Of the 14% who did have AV installed, 18% had reported finding malware.
The thing I found strange about this poll is that security has seen improvements on the laptop/desktop side yet, our mobile devices have a fair bit more exposure and are left vulnerable. In 2010, Android had seen several firsts: SMS Trojan, Botnet, Monitored GPS, and even a Bank Phishing application. These firsts signal a dramatic increase of malware on the Android platform. One report, by McAfee, stated that the rise since last quarter was 76%.
Android is not the only mobile platform that is susceptible. Research has shown that there is a positivie correlation between the popularity of the device/operating system and the infection rate. This correlation is similar to that seen in the PC world and the same is true for the techniques that are being used to infect the victims. One of the largest threat vectors I can think of is the large volume of applications within the app stores. With such an influx of new apps, it is hard to ensure that each one is safe.
You may wish to thank me for a sleepless night, but you already know how to protect yourself because mobile phones are just small computers. So you should start by doing the same things you do on your laptops and desktops. First get some basic AV installed from a reputable source. Second, perform some research before installing any apps on your phone. If you are uncertain of the source then maybe it is not worth the risk. Afterall, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What do you do to protect your mobile phone from malware? Share you thoughts, and techniques in our comments section.
A few days ago I was given the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Aruba Networks, Dominic Orr, and a few members of his Canadian team. While the swordfish was great, I thought the conversation was even better. Listening to and discussing thoughts on the future of mobility with a team of like-minded individuals is an amazing way to spend an evening.
Here are some quick points and discussion summaries from the evening:
- Wireless networking and mobility is growing at an incredible rate (no surprise there). With the ever growing number of devices that are ‘wireless only’ it is more important than ever to start planning your mobility strategy. That means immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week, immediately. You don’t want to be caught in a reactive stance when your environment gets hit by the tidal wave of BYODs.
- It’s great to see that one of the top players in the wireless/mobility space is making a conscious effort not to leave smaller clients behind during this period of enormous market growth. Solutions like Aruba Instant allow SMBs to take advantage of enterprise-level features without going over budget. Mobility is primed to be a game-changer for everyone; not just the richest companies.
- Starting now, or in the very near future, context will be king. It is no longer good enough to only plan for coverage, capacity, or even secure access. To take full advantage of mobility, you will need to start providing coverage, capacity, and security based on the context of the individual users and devices connecting to your network. Using identity, device type, time, location, and application usage as the context in which you create your policies will allow for optimal, secure, and efficient use of wireless networks and mobility in the workplace.
Overall, I left that dinner feeling energized and excited about the future of mobility. Am I ready to cut all of my cables right now? No. However, as more and more device manufacturers take the option of a wired connection away, it is comforting to know that networks are set to adapt and offer a far more customized level of service than ever before.
What are your thoughts on the future of mobility? Do you need help developing your strategy? Leave a comment or contact us directly and let’s start the discussion.
Full Disclosure: NCI is a partner/reseller of Aruba Networks.
The way we ‘do mobile’ is about to change. Is your mobile security strategy up-to-date?
2011 is almost upon us and mobility is going to be the name of the game. People are starting to access corporate data and personal data from anywhere with a wireless signal. Furthermore, they are starting to do it from their own consumer grade devices.
We recently hosted a webinar to discuss some recent technology trends as they pertain to mobile computing and security:
Is your IT team ready to deal with the mobile world? Leave us your comments or thoughts on the webinar, mobile security, and Junos Pulse.