Issues for 2012: Smartphone Hacking

user with two cell phonesFor companies installing new VoIP systems in 2012 who decide to open extensions to smartphones, the issues of 2011 are still on the radar. Wednesday October 26, 2011 Infonectics Research released a report on how Smartphone hacking is fueling big growth in mobile security client software sales. Though hackers continue to target the larger number of PCs out in the market, mobile phone hacking for financial gain is expected to be on the rise. The threat is nothing new. In August of 2009, Techworld.com released an article quoting Android Security Leader Rich Cannings speaking at the Usenix Security Symposium as saying  “The smartphone OS will become a major security target”.

Cannings has lead Android in the process of tightening up security in its App marketplace, following the lead of Apple. Is tightening the availability of Apps enough to protect Smartphone users? According to ComputerWorld, ViaForensics published a review of 100 popular mobile applications and found 83% of those either warranted a security warning or failed the company’s basic security tests because they stored sensitive data insecurely.

Those quoted in the article complain that forcing a user to consider the implications of using an app is the opposite of enhanced usability. Andrew Hoog, chief investigative officer at viaForensics went so far as to suggest that the only way to improve security was to keep data off the devices.

He may be right; however, with the latest trend information from Infonetics Research, I think we are seeing considerable efforts to start treating Smartphones in the same manner as PCs, with additional security options and safeguards.

All businesses know that the important decision for 2012 is to encourage growth and sales in a consistent manner. IT managers need to keep an eye on security options as they develop this year. That and educating employees about how smartphones are not just a list of numbers to dial, but literally a data packed PC in their pocket.