Feeds

Lax mobile security leaves UK.biz at risk

An accident waiting to happen, apparently

Seven Steps to Software Security

Confusion and lack of leadership is leaving many UK businesses exposed to mobile security risks, according to a new study.

Four in five (80 per cent) of 2,035 IT pros surveyed by market analyst firm Quocirca, say ordinary workers constitute the main mobile security threat.

But one in five companies that already have a wide deployment of mobile devices (such as wireless PDAs and smartphones) admit they've failed to implement effective security policies.

Even among respondents that have mobile security policies, three in five (60 per cent) admit the policies are not enforced. This raises questions about leadership within organisations and whether senior staff are treating security as a high enough priority, according to mobile telco Orange, which sponsored the online study.

"Responsibility for security is being placed firmly in the hands of the user, but it's essential that attitudes change and security becomes a shared responsibility between the company and the employee," says Alastair MacLeod, vice president of Orange Business Solutions UK. "There are a number of simple ways to encourage responsible behavior and the first obvious step is to set out a sensible security policy and to engage users through consultation, not prescription. Communication is key."

The survey found business managers were content to leave staff - rather than IT managers or the board - responsible for the data security of mobile devices. Staff were often given a choice over what device they wanted, and the use of passwords or PIN protection was often left up to to them. Even firms with a better understanding of mobile workings frequently failed to keep track of devices or take steps to provide access to corporate resources in a controlled manner.

"There is widespread naivety and neglect in handheld device security," said Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca. "However, it is important to realise that both employees and employers have to play their part. Organisations have a duty to develop, communicate and enforce an effective security policy which employees should understand and abide by. Since some users will still have a lax attitude, businesses should place a safety net of measures to deal with the most likely eventualities including backup and contingency planning." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.