Symantec: Mobile device protection inadequate

Symantec: Mobile device protection inadequate

The rapid adoption of mobile devices such as tablets is causing additional security headaches, according to the security vendor

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly prevalent and so are the number of threats that target these mobility products, according to security vendor, Symantec.

The vendor's Internet Security Threat Report Volume XVI shows vulnerabilities on mobile devices have risen 45 per cent in 2010.

Trojans posing as legitimate applications is still part of most malicious codes targeting mobility products.

With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, Symantec expected this trend to continue.

“This is a recent problem since mobile devices are now able to support multi-threading applications, that is, the CPU can support more than one application running at the same time,” Symantec managing director, Craig Scroggie, said.

Google’s Android OS is able to run multiple applications on one CPU.

“Phones are becoming more like computers and the higher processing power means more people are going to be susceptible to threats,” Scoggie said. “This isn’t just restricted to mobile phones but affects mobility in general since we are going to see a huge influx of tablet computers this year.”

The Apple iPad has catalysed a tablet frenzy. Millions of units have already been sold and many competing vendors will release their own devices in the coming months.

The popularity of such products has crept into the commercial sector and more businesses are accepting personal mobility devices into the workplace. But the adoption rate of technology is moving at a faster pace than people’s capacity to consider security risks, according to Scroggie.

“The threat landscape is evolving rapidly and people are writing more codes to target mobile devices because the community is growing,” he said. “The security or security protocols are not keeping up and people’s maturity around how to protect their devices is not up to speed with the rate of technology adoption.”

Protection does exist for mobile devices but may be confounding to users and organisations.

“Do we encrypt devices? Do we put certificates on them? Will two-factor authentication protect them? These are the sorts of things people really struggle with at the moment,” Scoggie said.

He recommends applying the same scruples to protecting mobility devices as users would to a PC. There should also be vigilant in relation to threats used for the purpose of identity theft as mobile devices are increasingly used to deal with personal information.

The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Volume XVI found a rise in zero day vulnerabilities and sophisticated rootkits.

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Tags Vulnerabilitiestabletssymantecapple ipadInternet Security Threat Report Volume XVImalicious codessmatrphonestwo-factor authentificationpersonal mobilitymulti-threading


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