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Mobile device security highlighted at IT summit

Mobile device security came to the forefront of the conversation recently at the seventh annual ITWeb Security Summit in Johannesberg, South Africa.


Mobile device security highlighted at IT summit

mdm, mobile device, security

Mobile device security came to the forefront of the conversation recently at the seventh annual ITWeb Security Summit in Johannesberg, South Africa. Christiaan Brand, chief technology officer at Entersect, addressed the importance of establishing a middle ground between extremist views when it comes to mobile security.

Speaking at the summit, Brand said it's not wise to have blind trust in a mobile operating system's security, but it's also too extreme to avoid mobile devices entirely because of security concerns, according to IT Web. He focused on the factors that can make mobile devices more susceptible to malicious attacks and on methods of protecting devices against malicious malware attacks.

According to Brand, compromised operating systems are one of the biggest mobile security threats, including jail-broken iOS devices and those that are connected to the Android operating systems. In 2010, an estimated 4 million iOS devices were jail-broken, which accounted for 8 percent of the devices. Jailbroken iOS devices are capable of running applications that have not been approved by Apple, which could cause problems for users, especially if they are not using mobile device management software. Historically, Android devices are even more susceptible to malware. This was driven home by a recent study undertaken by research firm Trail of Bits, which found no malware on Apple's app store but discovered more than 30 pieces of malware on Google's app marketplace, according to Tech Target.

Brand believes there are two ways to address compromised devices, which include developers writing applications that refuse to run on devices that have been jailbroken or rooted, and prompting users by letting them know the operating system has been compromised.

Brand encouraged companies and individuals to take the appropriate actions to secure their devices, and warned of increasing instances of malware penetrating devices that have been compromised by jailbreaking or rooting.

However, jailbroken and rooted devices are not the only ones facing threats, and malware is not the only exploit to watch out for, according to Brand. He pointed to "SIM swapping" as another danger. In SIM swapping, criminals can take a falsified ID document to a representative of a carrier or mobile operator, pretending to have lost a SIM card. This could take a turn for the worse if the mobile company gives the criminal a replacement card. The criminal would then have access to all the calls and texts related to a specific number. The hackers could also gain access to banking information, with more mobile users taking advantage of mobile banking.

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