Mobile phone security is fast becoming a bigger worry for consumers than viruses on their PCs. A recent Juniper Research report, Mobile Security Opportunities, shows that only 4% of smartphones and tablets currently have installed third-party security software to protect against malware and viruses, device theft and data loss.
As a result, the analyst firm predicts the mobile security software market will increase exponentially as the need to protect personal and corporate data on mobile phones increases.
Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of specialist security software distributor Phoenix Software, says that while the current virus threat to mobile devices has been described as “a raindrop in a thunderstorm”, this is not an accurate assessment, as two out of three BlackBerry devices, three out of four Windows Mobile devices, and just about all Android devices have malware infections.
“Most of these infections are types of spyware capable of stealing log-in details, forwarding e-mail and text messages, tapping phone conversations, and tracking the location of devices,” he adds.
The Juniper report backs this up, stating that mobile security software will become as mainstream as Internet security products for PCs and laptops. In fact, the report specifically mentions that mobile security software is rapidly becoming as essential on a handheld as it is on a desktop or notebook computer.
“The increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets makes this particularly relevant as many users are now accustomed to accessing e-mails, Web sites and performing online transactions on the move, thereby storing more and more potentially sensitive data,” Campbell-Young adds.
The report predicts that security software sales will surge over the next five years as businesses seek to increase protection against security attacks and data loss on mobile devices, and that enterprises will comprise 69% of all mobile security buyers in five years’ time, with security software for tablets overtaking smartphones.
“Never before in the history of technology has there been a more perfect distribution channel to send applications, including malicious applications, to tens of millions of devices”, Campbell-Young says.
He points out that devices no longer connect to a single network. Instead, mobile devices connect to multiple provider and WiFi networks.
“There has to be a software client on every device to ensure protection regardless of what network they are connected to. On-device software can defend against direct attacks, but in the event of loss or theft, also enable users to lock, wipe, back-up and track their devices remotely,” he adds.
“A solution like Kaspersky Mobile Security or AVG Mobilation, which can locate, wipe and lock your mobile device is the perfect answer to mobile insecurity. Much like Macs, mobile devices are on the virus radar, it’s just a matter of time until a serious security breach happens. Rather be safe than sorry and protect yourself upfront.”