Mobile Security and Innovation: An Open Case Author: Eric Everson, Founder MyMobiSafe.com
The times are changing in the mobile industry as “big wireless” in the US Markets are calling for an industry migration towards Open Source. One of the most notables promoting this industry transition is Dan Hesse (the top brass @ Sprint-Nextel). If you were at the 08 CTIA, you may have heard his sentiments in the infamous "any device, any network, any application" roundtable forum. If not, you should know that big wireless in the US is pushing hard for an Open Source future for Mobile Operating Systems (MOPS).
Why would the top brass at these large wireless providers want an Open Source future? You may ask if they have even considered the significant mobile security vulnerabilities that face the industry within the migration towards Open Source MOPS. Let’s face it, getting behind this movement is all about money. That’s right, loads of stinkin’ money! For them the security is less of an issue as it is the raw explosion of mobile content that is driving them. As a relatively young market, we are already looking at global wireless data services profits ringing in at the tune of $200 Billion for 2008 alone.
While not to stand on the opposing side of Open Source, as a mobile content developer and mobile aficionado I see great opportunities for an open future too. As a leader in mobile security however, I can not look at an open mobile future without seeing the significant vulnerabilities that are just around the bend. Traditionally the wireless industry has been so segmented by proprietary MOPS (pMOPS) that it has been hard for any one mobile malware to make any significant penetration. Today (and especially in the face of Open Source) there is a MOPS consolidation underway that is undeniably changing the landscape of the wireless industry. Love it or hate it, pMOPS have been good for security. As the proprietary nature of the industry erodes in this migration to Open Source, the vulnerabilities will naturally increase at the handset level. The more control that is handed over with regard to MOPS, naturally the less security that can naturally be afforded.
From where I am sitting (as the founder of MyMobiSafe.com) this bodes well for the mobile security industry. Once the paradigm has shifted and the industry has fully migrated to Open Source MOPS, a mobile security solution will no longer be optional if you want any form of handset-level security. At the same time, this also means that as mobile users we can expect to enjoy the very flood of mobile content that big wireless is banking on. In looking at the computer industry, why are 95% of viruses aimed at Windows Operating Systems? The reason is seemingly simple, as a malware developer there are simply more users to target. Given the environs of Open Source and the MOPS consolidation that is underway in wireless, mobile security remains an “open case”.
Feel free to comment or drop me an email at EricEverson@Hotmail.com. Knowledge is the greatest weapon in the battle of mobile security.
Your friend and mobile security guru, Eric Everson
Eric Everson, Founder – MyMobiSafe.com