It is these capabilities that enable the devices to

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Unformatted text preview: access to a wide range of facilities and services). It is these capabilities that enable the devices to be used as a common form factor for accessing both financial and commercial systems. However, it is that same single-source access capability that will drive malware writers to make sustained efforts to exploit any vulnerability. The limited threats of the past are not an indicator of future threat levels The primary risk with mobile devices is that they are easily lost or stolen. This can happen when they are “logged in”, and in this case the thief or finder can continue to use them without going through further identification or authentication. The architecture of earlier mobile devices has substantially limited the spread and effectiveness of malware until now. Malware has not taken hold because devices have been too limited in their functionality, they have lacked battery power, and the market has been too fragmented across diverse device types. The Symbian platform was designed to be resistant to unauthorized applications, including most malware executables. Likewise, the RIM BlackBerry platform is closed to untrusted applications. However, users have demanded more flexible and functional devices, and technology has delivered what they have asked for. The iPhone and Android-based devices leading the current generation incorporate many of the characteristics of personal computers, including an open door to new applications. Some platforms seek to maintain a mechanism where a user has to accept all new applications before they can be installed on the device, for example by clicking a dialog box. However, this will not be fully effective in blocking malware because users will not always S TRAIGHTTALK I T 25 understand what they are being asked and might click the box accidentally. Mobile devices are often used in situations that are inherently less secure than sitting in an office or at a home computer. They might be used in crowds, in poorly lit areas, in places where information security isn’t the prime concern of the user, or where the user is in a hurry and mi...
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