Browse Definitions:
Definition

mobile security (wireless security)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore, Robert Westervelt

Mobile security is the protection of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable computing devices, and the networks they connect to, from threats and vulnerabilities associated with wireless computing. Mobile security is also known as wireless security.

Securing mobile devices has become increasingly important in recent years as the numbers of the devices in operation and the uses to which they are put have expanded dramatically. The problem is compounded within the enterprise as the ongoing trend toward IT consumerization is resulting in more and more employee-owned devices connecting to the corporate network.

SearchSecurity.com's 2012 enterprise mobile security survey polled 487 IT security professionals and IT managers. The survey found the following top five mobile security concerns:

1. Device loss was the top concern. If an employee leaves a tablet or smartphone in a taxi cab or at a restaurant, for example, sensitive data, such as customer information or corporate intellectual property, can be put at risk. According to Marcus Carey, a security researcher at Boston-based compliance auditing firm Rapid7 Inc., such incidents have been behind many high-profile data breaches.

2. Application security was the second-ranking concern. One problem is mobile apps that request too many privileges, which allows them to access various data sources on the device. According to Domingo Guerra, president and co-founder of San Francisco-based Appthority Inc., many mobile apps -- especially free ones -- are built with ties to advertising networks, which makes contacts, browsing history and geolocation data extremely valuable to application developers. As Guerra put it, "Developers want to monetize, consumers want free apps and then ad networks will pay developers to get all of that juicy data from their users." According to survey respondents, leaked corporate contacts, calendar items and even the location of certain executives could put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Another concern is malicious or Trojan-infected applications that are designed to look like they perform normally, but secretly upload sensitive data to a remote server.

3. Device data leakage was the third-ranking mobile security issue. Nearly all of the chief concerns identified in the mobile security survey, from data loss and theft to malicious applications and mobile malware, are sources of data leakage. While most corporate access privileges on mobile devices remain limited to calendar items and email, new mobile business applications can tap into a variety of sources, if the enterprise accepts the risks, said mobile security expert Lisa Phifer. Increased corporate data on devices increases the draw of cybercriminals who can target both the device and the back-end systems they tap into with mobile malware, Phifer said. "If you're going to put sensitive business applications on those devices, then you would want to start taking that threat seriously."

4. Malware attacks were the fourth-ranking mobile security concern. A new report from Finland-based antivirus vendor F-Secure Corp. found the vast majority of mobile malware to be SMS Trojans, designed to charge device owners premium text messages. Experts say Android devices face the biggest threat, but other platforms can attract financially motivated cybercriminals if they adopt Near Field Communications and other mobile payment technologies. An F-Secure analysis of more than 5,000 malicious Android files found that 81% of mobile malware can be classified as Trojans, followed by monitoring tools (10.1%) and malicious applications (5.1%).

5. Device theft was fifth on the list of top concerns. Smartphone theft is a common problem for owners of highly coveted smartphones such as the iPhone or high-end Android devices. The danger of corporate data, such as account credentials and access to email, falling into the hands of a tech-savvy thief, makes the issue a major threat to the IT security pros who took the survey.

 

See also: BYOD (bring your own device), BYOT (bring your own technology), graynet, shadow IT

This was last updated in November 2012

Next Steps

Find out how the leading MDM products ensure enterprise mobile security

Continue Reading About mobile security (wireless security)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close