Guarding against mobile malware
by Ernie Wood
One of the tricks of the trade here at DeLaune and Associates is knowing how to convey a message to an audience that is not us. In our technical marketing for IBM, for example, are we writing for the chief security officer of a Fortune 500 corporation? Yes, that’s often the target. Are we writing for ourselves at home trying to keep viruses and malware off our laptops? Not so much.
Except sometimes the message gets turned around and pulled and stretched until it’s speaking to everyone. Ourselves included.
Like the time we began our information gathering for a white paper on mobile application security with a conference call. We cast worried looks at the speaker phone. And at each other. We nervously patted the cell phones in our pockets. And we began freaking out.
Here’s a little of what we were hearing:
“Probably all of us have had something pop up on the mobile phone saying you need to download something to be able to see something. Because of the intimate nature of mobile technology, people are actually very willing to say yes.”
True, for work or personal use, we’ve all been there.
But now listen to this:
“Think about what hackers are trying to do. They’re trying to mine for data. And one of the ways they do that is they write very sophisticated and targeted malware that takes advantage of weaknesses in mobile applications. How do they determine weaknesses? Well, they download the darn applications.”
It’s that simple. Hackers reverse engineer publicly available apps to create malware. We download it. And we’re toast.
But maybe not for long.
What came out of the call was an IBM white paper describing the threats of mobile malware and the steps companies can take to protect themselves. You can read it here.
So are we all going to stop downloading apps? Not really. But are we going to be more careful when we do it? Without a doubt. Careful is what Fortune 500 companies and individuals and everyone in between should be. Otherwise, malware really will hit all of us very close to home.