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Who should install handheld device security: Vendors or customers?

Shipping companies use mobile devices to track their packages, but who should be in charge of the security software: the vendor or the customer? In this SearchSecurity.com Q&A, information security threats expert Ed Skoudis suggests who should be protecting these tracking tools.

There are a number of vendors out there that manufacture mobile devices specifically for delivery environments. Should those vendors consider embedding mobile security software in their products or rely on customers to install their own?
I assume you are referring to the mobile devices that shipping companies use to track packages and conduct their operations. If so, you obviously realize that these handheld devices are growing into general-purpose wearable PCs, often with stripped-down Windows or Linux installations on them. Given their extreme importance in business, I'd like to see security mechanisms, such as antivirus and antispyware tools, installed on these devices.

So, should customers or the vendor put security software on these devices? I'd rather see the vendor install security tools, so they can fine-tune the security and make sure that it does not conflict with any of the highly customized software on the mobile device. As a customer of such a vendor, I'd include security functionality high on my list of desirable features, since a major infection could paralyze a delivery business. If vendors are not forthcoming with security methods, however, the customer should procure and install antimalware defenses.

More information:

  • Learn how to defend your mobile devices from malware.
  • Reduce risk with mobile device security policies.
  • This was last published in February 2007

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