Mobile security is gaining in importance, as we turn to our sleek devices to manage oh so many aspects of our lives. Mobile devices have become our personal assistants, wallets, maps, address books, televisions and libraries. They’ve become our digital meeting grounds, our written and spoken means of correspondence, and major business tools. One false move with our mobile devices, and we could find ourselves up a creek with no paddle in sight.
Yet, until we lose or break our mobile devices, it’s not often something we think about. The Apple iPad’s growing string of security breaches, however, reminds us just how vulnerable we are. Whether we leave our mobile devices at a beer garden or it’s hacked remotely, our mobile devices are becoming prime targets for accessing some of our most intimate and personal details.
It reminds us of how vulnerable phone companies and service providers are as well. The weeks since making the iPad available in stores has given AT&T and Apple quite a headache, with loopholes and weak points that have revealed the iPad’s consumer email list and can open the iPad up to a hacker for remote control of the device. Goatse Security uncovered this latest security breach in Apple’s iPad, with CNN reporting that
Goatse Security said in its blog post that the hack took “just over a single hour of labor total.” It accused AT&T — and Apple — of not taking security seriously, saying that had the hackers not exposed the vulnerability, AT&T would never have fixed the problem. As evidence, Goatse cited Apple’s failure to fully patch the Safari bug Goatse exposed three months ago.
Is the mobile industry growing too quickly for its own good? The demand for powerful smart phones has created a market where it’s difficult for manufacturers and service providers to keep pace. The complex processing involved in developing these new and improved mobile devices leaves room for error, and it’s a growing issue that’s affecting the mobile industry as a whole. The Wall Street Journal takes a closer look at the larger picture, keeping consumer concerns in mind.
The number of security companies releasing mobile protection have increased as well. Norton’s been busy these past months with a widespread mobile initative across multiple devices and platforms, with Juniper Networks releasing mobile security tools that fit into its existing services. As travel becomes more prevelant, Kapersky is offering a free version of its mobile security suite for World Cup visitors.
Regardless of mobile security details, such as the type of bug it is or how difficult it was to discover, the public handling of each breach is what matters a great deal to consumers. How quickly was the bug addressed and what will be done to prevent such happenings in the future? As serious as Apple appears to be when it comes to its research and development, even it wasn’t as strict as Sprint when dealing with an internal, human-error security breach. As Apple pushes its still-new tablet and preps for iPhone 4 sales, the company will need to also focus on promoting consumer safety.