The issue of mobile
hacking, particularly attacks
targeting smartphones, is nothing
new. But a new report from Reuters exposes a market that benefits from all the hacking.
the once-fragmented smartphone arena is quickly becoming a two-player game
(Android vs. Apple), it is becoming increasingly
easier for hackers to target one or the other OS, thus doing a great deal
of damage with just one hit. And everyone is looking to cash in.
Reuters reports that mobile security threats are creating big business not only
for traditional anti-virus players such as McAfee and Norton, but also carriers
like France Telecom and handset manufacturers like Nokia.
mobile security market will one day be bigger than that of computers,"
Index Ventures Co-Founder Neil Rimer is quoted as saying at the Reuters Global
Technology Summit. "It's a no-brainer that people will pay to protect
their devices, and the market will not be owned by one big player."
according to the report, market research firm Infonetics predicts mobile
security software to grow by 50 percent each year over the course of the next
three years, eventually becoming a $2-billion industry.
malware and other hacks threaten all platforms, Android particularly felt the
pain in March when a
Trojan infected more than a quarter of a million consumer's devices. A
study by Juniper Networks found that malware threats on Android quadrupled in
the six-month period from June 2010 to January 2011, while the threat on all
mobile devices doubled.
the carriers have begun to cash in. "Operators are very interested in
offering security as a service to their customers as a way to generate revenue
and promote customer retention," Sean Obrey told Reuters. Obrey is the head
operator of business development at F-Secure, a mobile security specialty
company that provides "anti-virus software and anti-theft protection"
to smartphone users through approximately 40 telecom operators. The protection
packages F-Secure offers can run anywhere from 5 to 10 euros per month.
France Telecom (more commonly known as its service brand Orange) pre-packages
security solutions on phones in Britain and offers paid security solutions for
3 to 9 euros to its French customers, AT&T is making plans to offer its
customers security software in the U.S. But it may prove
you start asking [customers] what's your willingness to pay for a solution, if
they're not a little frightened, their willingness to pay is nothing," added
AT&T's Head of Enterprise Business, John Stankey.
likely take a major virus that affects a larger swath of users before consumers
are willing to pay for mobile security solutions.
meantime, the best practice to avoid becoming a victim of mobile malware is to
use common sense. Don't install or download anything from an untrusted source.
Don't install an app or program that looks suspicious or sounds too good to be
true. Do your research on an app or app developer before installing. Don't
access personal information while connected to an open wireless network. Anyone
who follows these rules can avoid becoming a victim of mobile hacks without
having to shell out any more money to telecoms and software companies.