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Danny Myburgh, CyanreDanny Myburgh, Cyanre

While having the Web available on devices that fit into the palm of your hand certainly has many benefits and perks – such as providing you with the ability to work without having to go to the office – it has a distinct downside as well.

Mobile phone is fast becoming a bigger worry for consumers than viruses on their PCs. Devices no longer connect to a single network. Instead, mobile devices connect to multiple provider and WiFi networks. But, while smartphone viruses are still fairly rare, text message attacks aimed at smartphone operating systems are becoming more common. It’s not just consumers who are at risk from these attacks. Any employee who falls for a text message ruse using a company smartphone can jeopardise the business’s network and data, and perhaps cause a compliance violation.

With the increasing ability of smartphones and tablets to store sensitive data and documents, conduct financial transactions and access corporate networks, both consumers and corporations should be increasingly concerned with the of their mobile devices.

Few users are aware of the potential risks these devices pose. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that, while 82% of those surveyed have antivirus software installed on their home PCs and laptops, less than half of all tablets and barely a quarter of mobile phones have any solutions installed, even though mobile devices are generally less protected from unauthorised access than desktops or laptops.

This is worrying for companies who have to deal with the threats posed by the mobile devices they have provisioned themselves in addition to the devices their employees bring into the workplace with them. Trying to stop the waves of new powerful consumer devices for employees and business partners from being used is hopeless. Instead, organisations need to focus their efforts on containing the threat through effective protocols. A live demonstration of the ease with which a mobile device can be hacked will convince anyone of the importance of securing a mobile device properly.

About the author: is MD of Cyanre. He will be speaking at the upcoming Security Summit taking place at Sandton Convention Centre from 7-9 May.