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					Mobile security




    ON THE GO
                                       An explosion in smartphones, laptops,
                                       USB sticks and other portable devices has
                                       brought new security challenges, reports
                                       Greg Masters.


                                       T
                                              he rise of the smartphone has          Much of this popularity has been
                                              done more than bring convenience    driven by Apple’s iPhone and other
                                              to the hundreds of millions of      touchscreen smartphones, says Mikko
                                       consumers who use them. It has forced      Hyppönen, chief research officer at
                                       a realignment in the way IT adminis-       Helsinki-based computer security
                                       trators go about protecting enterprise     software company F-Secure. The iPhone
                                       networks. Where once their command-        already has more than a 10 percent share
                                       ments about user policies were unques-     of the smartphone market.
                                       tioned and strictly adhered to, the           As well, in just a few months,
                                       so-called consumerization of the mobile    Android [Google’s mobile OS] has
                                       device has, in many cases, obliterated     gained traction, joining the iPhone as a
                                       their power to dictate the rules.          highly demanded alternative to Black-
                                          Employees have been bringing            Berry devices, says John Herrema, chief
                                       technology into the enterprise for quite   marketing officer at Good Technology.
                                       a while now, says John Dasher, senior         “We’re seeing Android as potentially
                                       director of data protection at McAfee.     the biggest mobility platform over the
                                       “The day is long gone where employees      course of the next year,” he says.
                                       use office-specified tools,” he says. The       And, it is not just road warriors and
                                       time has come where executives can         enterprise users who have made smart-
                                       tell the IT department that they want to   phones so prevalent. Students and
                                       use their personal computers and other     consumers on the go continually use their
                                       mobile devices. Employees have more        devices to stay connected via text and
                                       influence about these matters and their     social networks, such as Facebook, and
                                       power to circumvent what had been set      their need for secure transmission of data
                                       rules will become more common, he says.    is a rising concern as well.



32 SC • February 2010 • www.scmagazineus.com
   The downside to all this growth in                                                              The reason for this disparity, he
the mobile space is that the popularity
                                                 SMART USER:                                    explains, is that third-party apps for
is inevitably attracting the attention of        Protect data                                   smartphones must be certified and
malware writers. And, says Herrema,              To ensure secure use of the iPhone:            approved before they’re made available
initial Android devices have not had a lot                                                      on iTunes or other distribution networks.
built into them as far as security. (For its     1. Education – Users need to know the             “Compare that model to what’s being
part, a spokesperson at Google responds,         risks of the web or vectors of data loss on    done on the PC side where there are no
“We pragmatically designed Android to            the device as there are insufficient policy     restrictions and no code-signing,” he says.
help protect consumers from modern               controls to technically enforce acceptable        In fact, there have only been about
security threats, and we’
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: There are some, however, who take a hard line approach. Columbus, Ohiobased State Auto Insurance is strict with USB thumb drives - they're not allowed. In fact, the company disables the USB port in their computers so employees "will avoid getting into trouble," as Nancy Edwards, the company's chief security officer, explains it. "We can't figure out what you need a USB stick for.
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