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Security Prediction #3: Mobile Device Security

January 6, 2011

Prediction #3: Three Words: “Mobile Device Security”. “Righteous outrage” is how a good friend of mine recently described his pernicious seething at the discovery that at least some of his iPhone apps were likely sending his personal data to marketing firms in order to better target him for mobile ads.  “You would think”, he sighed, “that a company that sandboxes all of its ‘official’ apps would actually test them to ensure that they comply with their privacy policy.”  After a few minutes he pondered, “What I need is a ZoneAlarm for my iPhone, to shut these damn apps down when they try to phone home.”

And of course, he’s right.  But predictive marketing isn’t the only problem with current state of mobile device security.  Malware is finally starting to rear its ugly head en masse, and it doesn’t matter if you’re using an iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile device.  With the prevalence of data that’s being stored on mobile phones — sometimes without a recent backup on a desktop or laptop (when was the last time you tethered or Bluetoothed your mobile device to your computer?) – coupled with an increase in mobile phone theft, security capabilities such as encryption, remote backup, and geolocation are becoming more critical, as well.

Two predictions are rolled-up in this one:

  • First, security firms will begin to focus a lot of energy on addressing mobile security and privacy, by developing both point security tools as well as security “suites” to address the egress of private data across mobile networks, enforce better authentication and encryption, provide better detection of malware, and ease backup and device recovery.
  • Second, we’ll see at least one significant lawsuit against a mobile service, device, and/or application provider, claiming failure to adequately protect the security of one (or more) users.
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