Mark Bridge writes:
This week’s podcast feature takes a fresh look at security on mobile phones. I’ve been talking to Eddy Willems, Security Evangelist at G Data, about the challenges and solutions facing smartphone users. Both Eddy and his current employer have been active in digital security for a couple of decades, so there’s plenty of experience under their respective belts.
I started by asking whether security was a big deal for mobile phones.
“Well, it is becoming a big deal for mobile phones”, Eddy replied. He went on to cite recent G Data research that showed how the share of malware aimed at smartphones and tablets had risen by 273% in the first half of 2011 when compared to the first half of 2010.
Unsurprisingly, Windows PCs are still the biggest target, with just a tiny percentage of mobile devices becoming infected with viruses and similar security threats. But that tiny percentage is growing. “It’s just on the edge at this moment. 2012 will definitely be the bigger target and we definitely will see real infections of real malware coming to all of us.”
The popularity and the ‘openness’ of Android are causing it to be targeted by cyber-criminals. “They are looking for the biggest market share… because they want to gain money out of it. That’s also the real reason why the Windows platform was targeted and is still targeted.”
Criminals are looking for information that’s stored on your phone, Eddy warned. “A lot of us are keeping passwords on mobile phones in some kind of document because it’s easy, so that’s one of the things that is very interesting for the cyber-criminal”.
We went on to talk about the misconceptions people have when it comes to mobile security, the ways that consumers can stay safe from mobile viruses and other malware, additional actions the mobile industry should be taking - and the security differences between Android and Apple’s iOS.
Finally, I asked Eddy to predict the future of mobile security over the next year or two.
“At this moment cyber-criminals are experimenting a little bit on the Android platform, trying to find out what they easily can do. We will have a very big increase in mobile malware - definitely for Android - because it’s becoming widely used. At this moment we see a lot of ‘Trojans’, malicious apps. We think this could be changed and maybe we’ll see something like small botnets and more spyware coming to mobile phones.”
It’s important to keep the scale of mobile malware in perspective - it’s the conventional desktop or laptop computer that’s targeted in the vast majority of cases - but the amount of threats and the the number of mobile devices affected are certainly very much on the increase.
|Hear Eddy Willems explain how to protect a smartphone from security threats - and much more, too. You can listen to the full interview with Eddy on our website, via iTunes or by downloading the MP3 file.