My story today on what's up with smartphone security was due to a release I had received last week from Kasperky Lab Americas on one of their new products.
It got me thinking that handset security is a lurking threat that could be easily ignored until the inevitable bad thing happens. Given the new Apple iPhone 3GS out and Palm's new Pre smartphone now in market it's a great time to assess what, if anything, should be done in smartphone security work.
So I reached out to Kasperky's Peter Beardmore, senior product marketing manager, to get some insight on issues and wanted to share it here as I couldn't include it in the article as I was already a bit late on deadline ;) .
Here's the quick Q&A:
Q: Are companies experiencing greater data threat/loss with the proliferation of smartphones in workplaces?
A: Smartphones in workplaces are definitely an expanding source of data loss and malicious intrusion into business networks. Whenever you have a device that's made to take data beyond the physical boundaries and firewalls of a workplace or at-home network, risk to the devices and the data is increased. It's the same concern when laptop computers started to become standard-issue at the workplace. But with smartphones, these devices are not only physically smaller and thus easier to lose, but since they use different operating systems than desktop and laptop computers, we've seen the security technology designed specifically for smartphone platforms hasn't kept up with the demand for the devices themselves.
Q: What's the basic security companies use, and what does Kaspersky recommend should be in place (besides their product)?
A: Almost all corporate-issued smartphones will require a PIN-like password to "open" your phone after it's been in your pocket. But for consumer-owned devices that are hooked into their workplace email account, often times even this rudimentary security measure isn't in place.
Q: What's the biggest smartphone threat -- losing it, having it stolen or getting a virus?
A: All signs point to the looming threat of widespread mobile malware, and we believe this will become a significant concern in coming years. That said, in the U.S. market, mobile malware is very much still a secondary concern, and the single biggest threat to smartphones is the physical loss of the device. Whether it slips out of your pocket in a cab, or it gets snatched off your table while eating at a sidewalk restaurant, there's a lucrative market to not only sell these phones on the black market, but to harvest the data they contain. Savvy smartphone users are accessing their emails and bank accounts, passing mission-critical business documents between colleagues, taking pictures at their weekend in Las Vegas that they probably don't want made public, etc.
Thanks Peter for your insight! What's your thought on his take?