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Mobile Malware and Future Threats

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Wired.com had an excellent article last week about Mobile Malware and it got me thinking about future computer threats a little. Let’s see where my mind went:

Mobile devices far outrank traditional computers and the gap is only growing. The Wired article points to only one of the problems with this, the lack of good antivirus software for mobile. Most cell phones carry no traditional security programs. Design features like sandboxing are nice and we are now seeing it in more phone/tablet operating systems, like Windows 8. Even so, mobile is the most used device and arguably the least secure. People do much more than just send email from their smartphone these days. Banking, locking the doors to your house, even starting your car are all being done via mobile devices. What once seemed like it was only for James Bond is now a reality, a very weakly secured reality. Hackers and organized groups will increasingly shift their attention to these devices and operating systems over the next couple years. Smart companies and security experts will likewise follow the trend. To give companies some idea of the scale of the potential security market in mobile, there were over 400 million cell phones sold in the 2nd quarter of 2012 alone, with smart phones up 41% from last year at 150 million. A company who capitalized on these trends by offering a trustworthy security protect for mobile devices could see enormous growth as a result.

Another scary future/present threat is hacking medical implants. Research has shown that you can kill someone by hacking into their pacemaker and delivering a high electric jolt. Talk about covert assassination or try being able to prove murder. Inserting computer chips into the body can have tremendous medical benefits, but the security side of these products cannot be ignored. So far it has been.

Finally building off another CTOvision article, the cloud offers hackers, thieves, and the like just as many opportunities as businesses. By using cloud services, cracking encryptions and passwords is constantly getting easier. Companies have fallen behind in realizing their old security standards no longer match up to current technology. A company’s security practices and standards cannot be a static but rather must be dynamic and continually evolve as technology and the threat spectrum changes.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.