By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
With increasingly powerful mobile devices selling in large numbers and software development kits readily available, the mobile device scene has all the hallmarks of a classic malware environment. Kids who hack smartphones for fun and fame will be joined by those who abuse these devices for profit. Perhaps the biggest difference from historic malware scenarios today is the existence of a readily accessible market of stolen data and compromised hosts -- and yes, mobile devices are hosts.
We can expect mobile device attacks that target the following:
1. Confidential data stored on the device.
2. Confidential data transmitted to and from the device.
3. Services enabled by the device.
As an enterprise security rule, we can assume that the smarter the device, the more complex, valuable and voluminous the data stored on it is; likewise the data sent to and from the handheld. Another rule of thumb tells us that newer devices prove to be less secure than more mature devices. Put the two rules together, and you have ample reason to think that mobile attacks will be heavily focused on the stored data sent to and from the device.
The wild card may be point three, the services enabled by smartphones. Historically, phone companies have had the most complete and sophisticated network traffic-monitoring and control systems. They may be able to prevent the abuse of connectivity better than the loose-knit patchwork of ISPs who formed the basis of the Internet. If mature technology is not used, you can expect to see some serious and widespread attempts to turn high-speed, always-on mobile devices into botnets.
At the moment, the biggest threats posed by "smart" devices are probably the simplest and oldest: the handhelds get easily lost and stolen, along with the data they contain; people talk too loudly on them, with too little awareness of who might be listening or "shoulder surfing"; people check email with the devices insecurely, exposing passwords and content. There will definitely be sophisticated threats in the future, and the future may be sooner than we expect.
Dig Deeper on BYOD and mobile device security best practices
Related Q&A from Michael Cobb
A technique known as the GhostHook attack can get around PatchGuard, but Microsoft hasn't patched the flaw. Expert Michael Cobb explains why, as well...continue reading
Software developed by the hacking group Platinum takes advantage of Intel AMT to bypass the built-in Windows firewall. Expert Michael Cobb explains ...continue reading
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have led to source code reviews on security products, but the process isn't new. Expert Michael Cobb explains ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.