Mobile malware incidents on rise
A quarter of businesses reported malware, says smart phone survey
Tech4Biz | 23 Apr 2012 :
The cost-saving culture of bring your own device (BYOD) smart phones is tempting enterprises into taking risks they would not contemplate for conventional computing devices, a survey by Goode Intelligence has suggested.
The Third mSecurity Survey (summary PDF) confirmed that Apple's iPhone is currently the dominant device, present in 77% of in the surveyed businesses, ahead of BlackBerry on 70% and the rapidly rising Android on 65%.
When asked whether their organisation allowed BYOD smart phone use, 71% said they did with 47% agreeing that company data was being stored on these devices. Many of these smart phones were not being managed as secure devices, with fewer than one in five adding anti-malware and only half employing data encryption.
Perhaps not coincidentally, mobile malware incidents rose in 2011 with 24% reporting evidence of infection, up from nine per cent in 2010 and 7% in 2009.
"The past three years have been extraordinary for mobile and there are no signs of this abating. Smart phones and tablet computers are having a transformational effect on the way that an organisation does business and manages information," said survey author, Alan Goode.
"There is a big question over whether information security professionals can keep up with the pace of change currently seen with smart mobile devices (SMD) and can manage the risks associated with them."
Against this striking incident statistic has to be set the size and scope of Goode's survey, which questioned only 130 IT professionals from a range of countries. Although (as the company points out) these figures are taken from real enterprises rather than being based on malware discovered by a security company, it would be a stretch to infer similar incident levels in Irish companies.
The report supplied no data on incident rates on different platforms, nor which threats had been encountered.
As with malware generally, mobile malware tends to be regional in nature which reflects the culture of businesses in different countries and the way mobile applications are offered. The Far East and Russia have had problems with rogue Android apps being used for premium rate tariff fraud, a phenomenon that has not struck on any scale in Western countries-yet.
It is also difficult to infer that BYOD itself is fuelling a rise in mobile malware although the relatively unprotected nature of many of the devices uncovered by Goode would tend to suggest some connection.