Growth in Mobile Broadband Globally Highlights Need for Increased Protection of Mobile Devices
During the course of 2010, mobile broadband subscriptions reached half-a-billion globally. Ericsson estimates that number to double before the end of 2011. The Asia Pacific region is expected to have the largest number of subscriptions with about 400 million, followed by North America and Western Europe with more than 200 million subscriptions each.
Mobile broadband adoption has accelerated with strong growth of smartphones, connected laptops and tablets, supported by the introduction of high- performance networks. Smartphones’ users are increasingly using applications and Internet services on the go. Global mobile data traffic continues to grow rapidly, with Ericsson announcing in August 2010 that it had tripled in just one year. By 2015, Ericsson believes mobile broadband subscriptions will top 3.8 billion, with 95 percent driven by HSPA, CDMA and LTE networks.
Users’ consumption of the Internet and other media is changing as a result of the introduction of fast networks and the availability of various types of devices, including smartphones. According to TeliaSonera’s survey of its LTE users, about 23 percent of them now watch more online TV, and in excess of 46 percent surf the web more frequently when away from home.
But as all these devices continue to consume content and be connected, there is an increasing need to secure these devices. Respondents to a Mobile & Smart Device Security Survey conducted this past summer, recognize the quickly growing world of connected smart devices and acknowledge that device security problems are not only inevitable, but potentially serious. 71% of respondents expect a serious incident arising from attacks on, or problems with, connected smart devices within the next 24 months. Additionally, 65% said that attacks against their smart devices already require the regular attention of their IT staff, or will start requiring it this year. In fact, 23% of organizations surveyed already repel device attacks at least once monthly, while 10% must do so on a daily basis.
Terry Cutler, a Certified Ethical Hacker and regular SecurityWeek contributor, says that more people are flocking to their smartphones and tablets, leaving their notebooks behind and that attackers are certain to try to profit from this trend. “There’s seemingly no end to the productivity gains from smartphones and tablets. With the anywhere access to email, applications, and data, workers are using their devices to do everything from staying in touch with co-workers on social networks to accessing and adding data to their CRM applications. Where people go, attackers follow,” Cutler writes. “We’re already seeing malware specifically designed to attack mobile devices. Although such malware is not a dire threat now, in the months and years ahead it most certainly will be. While such attacks are specific to mobile phones and some tablets, expect the same types of attacks that have plagued PCs for years to also hit mobile devices—namely, viruses, spyware, worms, and Trojans—designed to snoop, steal, or destroy data.”