Mobile Security

Mobile security is the protection of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable computing devices, and the networks they connect to, from threats and vulnerabilities associated with wireless computing. Mobile security is also known as wireless security.

Securing mobile devices has become increasingly important in recent years as the numbers of the devices in operation and the uses to which they are put have expanded dramatically. The problem is compounded within the enterprise as the ongoing trend toward IT consumerization is resulting in more and more employee-owned devices connecting to the corporate network.

A smartphone user is exposed to various threats when they use their phone. In just the last two-quarters of 2012, the number of unique mobile threats grew by 261%, according to ABI Research. These threats can disrupt the operation of the smartphone, and transmit or modify user data. So applications must guarantee privacy and integrity of the information they handle. In addition, since some apps could themselves be malware, their functionality and activities should be limited (for example, restricting the apps from accessing location information via GPS, blocking access to the user’s address book, preventing the transmission of data on the network, sending SMS messages that are billed to the user, etc.).

There are three prime targets for attackers:

  • Data: smartphones are devices for data management, and may contain sensitive data like credit card numbers, authentication information, private information, activity logs (calendar, call logs);
  • Identity: smartphones are highly customizable, so the device or its contents can easily be associated with a specific person. For example, every mobile device can transmit information related to the owner of the mobile phone contract,[citation needed] and an attacker may want to steal the identity of the owner of a smartphone to commit other offenses;
  • Availability: attacking a smartphone can limit access to it and deprive the owner of its use.