Smartphones could open enterprise security hole

So says McAfee - but mobile malware still minuscule issue compared with PC threats...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

So says McAfee - but mobile malware still minuscule issue compared with PC threats...

Mobile malware

Cyber criminals are getting more interested in targeting smartphones, claims McAfee
Photo: Shutterstock

The inexorable creep of consumer smartphones and shiny tablets into the enterprise could be opening up a security hole in the corporate firewall, according to security company McAfee.

McAfee said the rise of so many new mobile platforms on smartphones and tablets, coupled with a lax attitude to mobile device security from consumers and even businesses, could make handheld devices a target for botnet infections.

Writing in its Q4 2010 report, the security company said cybercriminals currently have a "window of opportunity" to exploit various mobile platforms, with Nokia's Symbian OS the most targeted platform in 2009 to 2010 - when it also had the biggest OS market share - followed by Java 2 Mobile Edition and Symbian S60 3rd Edition.

"Enterprises must now support more devices than ever before, in effect extending their corporate firewalls and services to places they may not be prepared for," the report said.

There is a direct link between device popularity and cybercriminal activity, the report added.

According to McAfee, there has been "steady growth" in the number of threats to mobile devices over the past few years, with 46 per cent more threats now than in 2009. However, the company conceded mobile threats are minuscule compared with "the sheer volume of PC-based malware".

The report notes fewer than 1,000 unique samples of mobile malware have ever been identified - a tiny fraction of the 55 million pieces of malware McAfee has flagged.

Last month, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security company Sophos, told silicon.com the company sees more than 90,000 new unique samples of malware every day - the vast majority of which are targeted at Windows PCs.

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