Report examines security flaws of mobile device usage

An international report has discovered that while mobile device usage is on the rise many people are combining business and pleasure in a single smartphone and, consequently, putting corporate data and personal customer details at risk of loss or theft.

More than 6000 people from around the world were questioned as part of the survey conducted on behalf of Juniper Networks, with 81 per cent of respondents saying that they hooked up their mobile devices to internal networks at their place of work, without the knowledge of their bosses.

Almost a fifth of those questioned said that they had downloaded or viewed proprietary details relating to their employer.

Juniper’s Dan Hoffman explained why businesses should be so concerned with these findings. In 98 per cent of cases the mobile devices used by employees are completely free of security software, leaving them open to exploitation by malicious parties.

Mr Hoffman was damning about the levels of spyware infection across mobile devices, claiming that Android-based smartphones are almost all infected with dangerous software, while two thirds of BlackBerry handsets are similarly afflicted.

The majority of mobile-targeted spyware is intended to harvest passwords and login details from the user, while it is not unusual to see software that is capable of listening in to phone calls and even keeping tabs on the user’s location using the integrated GPS features found on modern mobiles.

Mr Hoffman believes that thanks to the prevalence of smartphones the cybercriminals are able to infect and disrupt business with greater ease than in previous periods.

The only way to ensure that mobile devices are no longer liabilities and conduits for data loss and theft is by implementing widespread security software across all major platforms, according to Mr Hoffman.

Experts predict that while half of all mobiles have Wi-Fi connectivity today, within the coming years this will rise to 90 per cent, indicating that most people will be connected to multiple networks simultaneously and greatly increasing the risk of encountering serious problems.

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