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Survey: 54 Percent Of Organizations Plan To Add Smartphone Antivirus This Year

In anticipation of increased mobile threats in the next year, 40 percent of organizations worldwide plan to recruit mobile security staff

A little more than 10 percent of organizations worldwide are running anti-malware protection for their mobile devices, but 54 percent plan to do so this year, according to a new report.

U.K.-based Goode Intelligence's mobile security report, released today, says the amount of spam and malware via SMS, MMS, and email traffic on mobile phones has jumped from 2 percent to 20 to 30 percent of all traffic -- with 14 to 22 percent of that traffic considered malicious.

"The threat from mobile viruses is currently low, but with the rising adoption of data-centric applications on smartphones, including financial services, we feel that the threat will rise from 2010 onwards," said Alan Goode, managing director of Goode Intelligence, in a statement. Goode conducted the survey with Acumin Consulting during September.

Interestingly, around 70 percent of organizations consider the threat of mobile phone viruses low today, but only 20 percent feel that way about those viruses in 2011. Nearly 30 percent said the risk will be high or very high next year.

Among those organizations planning to add mobile AV products and services, 33 percent said they will do so by March, and 67 percent by September.

"Last year's iPhone worms could be just the start of a concerted attack on smartphones. The threat is increased by the proliferation of mobile app stores with users downloading applications, most of them free, to their smartphones," Goode said. "GI believes that companies must seriously consider the consequences of an unprotected corporate mobile phone being infected with malware that could upload all of that phone's data to a criminal server."

Around 46 percent of the organizations surveyed by Goode Intelligence said they don't have a documented security policy in place for mobile phones. Of the 54 percent that do, half said they think their users are aware of the policy, 17 percent said their users are not aware of it, and 33 percent aren't sure.

Adherence to the policy is split: More than 58 percent said their users comply with their mobile security policy, 25 percent said they don't, and 17 percent didn't know.

Meanwhile, 40 percent said they plan to recruit personnel for their mobile security operations within the next two years. To date, fewer than 30 percent of organizations have a resource allocated to mobile security, a statistic GI says is "impressive...given that this is very much an emerging area for information security. "

But mobile attacks are still rare: Only about 7 percent said they had experienced a mobile virus on a smartphone so far, and 7 percent weren't sure. Nearly 87 percent said they have had no evidence of malware on their phones.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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