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Verizon, RIM Investing in Mobile Security to Protect Phones from Attackers

December 26, 2010 No Comments

SOURCE:  eWeek

As people increase their use of smartphones more to check e-mail, to do their banking and accessing documents, the wireless industry is addressing mobile device security.

There will be a “consumerization of IT,” where more employees will be using their personal mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets, for work purposes, Chris Knotts, vice-president of technology and innovation at IT technology consulting company Force 3, told eWEEK.

IT administrators are reconciled to the fact that mobile devices are not going away, so they need to start thinking about securing the mobile devices against mobile attacks and data breaches, said Knotts.

The effort is not limited to IT administrators within the enterprises, as carriers and phonemakers are deploying new features and services to bring security to the mobile devices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Everyone is realizing that this is an uncontrolled environment. We don’t want to have the same problems that we had with PCs,” Edward G. Amoroso, chief security officer of AT&T, told the Wall Street Journal.

Several security vendors have raised the alarm, predicting various types of mobile threats will appear in 2011. Researchers at Panda Security said there will be new attacks on mobile devices, “but not on a massive scale,” which will  target Symbian-based and Android-based phones.

In many cases, some of the security features are already available within the smartphone operating system, according to Knotts. For example, one of the most frequently touted mobile security features to prevent data breaches, remote wipe, is available in the latest version of the Android operating system, as well as for the BlackBerry and iPhone, he said.

The increasing number of consumer devices used within the enterprise will force companies to impose “common security controls” such as password policies, device locking, remote wipes, and hardware encryption, said Andrew Jaquith, Perimeter e-Security’s CTO.

Some companies are already addressing those needs. Lookout, a mobile security provider, makes a free application for Android, BlackBerries, and Windows-based devices that allows consumers to remotely locate lost or stolen devices, backup the data, and remote erase all the information. Lookout also blocks malicious applications and other mobile threats from reaching the phones.

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