Surveys show IT's unfounded mobile security fears

In their attempts to scare enterprises, security companies have failed to produce any smoking guns

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What's rare on mobile are viruses and hack attacks -- the very vulnerabilities the fearmongers like to cite, playing off the history of Windows PCs and projecting it to the mobile environment, despite the fact that mobile OSes are designed much more securely than Windows. (Yes, Windows is getting better each version.)

Worry about real, demonstrable threats if you must. In mobile, social engineering attacks are the overwhelming threat -- in other words, phishing through emails and messages, social sites such as Facebook, honeypot websites, and even QR codes (the scannable graphics that hold embedded URLs). On Android, there's the added vector of the malware-laden Android Market. Phishing is a big problem across all Internet-connected technologies and not unique to mobile. There's not much technology can do to prevent phishing's success, as the user is fooled into giving the malware permission to execute.

IT should remember that any survey from a vendor is self-interested, and its conclusions are going to justify its offerings. After all, there's no other reason for a vendor to share survey results. You can bet that as soon as a technology looks to gain popularity, a slew of vendor studies will quickly tell you how absolutely dangerous it might be. If you work in IT you're likely very busy, so save yourself the time and fake scares; instead, ignore them. You already know what they'll say: Any technology is inherently unsafe, and users can't be trusted.

The answer to this dilemma of course is to shut down all the technology systems and fire all the people -- then you're certain to be safe. Then again, I'm sure there's a survey that says you'll still be unsafe. Those monsters under the bed could still be there. A meteor is probably heading your way as well.

This article, "Surveys show IT's unfounded mobile security fears," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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