Mobile World Congress is now underway and here is a round-up of the latest security news:
It’s no surprise that with the Snowden revelations and snooping allegations that have come to light, mobile security will be somewhat of a hot topic at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Enter Blackphone, which runs on a customised version of Google’s Android software and encrypts texts, voice calls and video chats.
It will tap into the market for mobile security management (MSM) products – estimated to be worth $560 million in 2013 and expected to nearly double in size to $1 billion a year by 2015, according to ABI Research.
“We are aiming to sell hundreds of thousands devices,” said Toby Weir-Jones, managing director, Blackphone. “This is a phone for everyone – whether you are an executive who likes to bring his device to work or you are a privacy-minded citizen who just wants to make sure that the internet is not looking over your shoulder.”
For enhanced m-payment security, PayPal and Samsung have extended their collaboration with a new biometric feature that will allow users of the new Galaxy S5 smartphone to use fingerprint authentication for mobile payments with PayPal merchants. PayPal argues that this is a major innovation in m-payment, introducing a new level of convenience for consumers compared to the familiar login-and-password authentication model.
Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum, thinks that consumers will be wary and need some convincing due to security concerns due to a 2013 Consumer Insights Survey that showed almost half the survey respondents (49%) ranked lack of security as their priority concern with mobile payments.
“On the positive side, Samsung is a hugely popular smartphone brand with global reach, while PayPal is a trusted payments service provider,” she said. “This is a powerful combination. PayPal stresses that fingerprint authentication is a secure feature based on a FIDO-ready software implementation with all credentials stored remotely in the cloud. PayPal is the first member of the FIDO Alliance to produce a solution of this kind; other members include Google and Microsoft.”
Pat Carroll, Founder and Executive Chairman at ValidSoft said: “There is much discussion about which organisations are driving the most change and development in mobile payments. Whether it is telcos, banks or technology companies, the success of any mobile payment system rests on ensuring that security is up to scratch and reassuring consumers that the right measures are in place to prevent fraud. By taking a layered approach to security, incorporating a number of different checks, strong protection can be achieved and be a totally intuitive and privacy sensitive customer experience. Therefore, the winners will be those organisations who focus on deploying solutions that are for the most part invisible to the end-user and therefore enable an intuitive user experience, in which the authentication process is commensurate with the risk of the transaction.”
Meanwhile, Cellebrite and Webroot announced a technology partnership. The WebrootÒ Mobile App Reputation Service and URL Classification Service will be integrated with Cellebrite’s Diagnostics solution for anti-malware capabilities. The combination will enable mobile operators and mobile retailers deploying Cellebrite’s Diagnostics to proactively identify and remediate security threats and performance problems on their customer’s mobile device by leveraging the extensive Webroot threat database, which contains millions of mobile application and website antimalware signatures.
“Malware detection, re
moval and resolution are vital components to an effective mobile diagnostics solution. The source of consumers’ complaints about smartphone problems is no longer confined to hardware and software faults, but also increasingly related to applications hurt by malware,” said Amir Lehr, vice president of Cellular Products and Business Development at Cellebrite. “Combining our diagnostics with the Webroot solutions makes Cellebrite the first Diagnostics provider to deliver, at the point of sale, immediate access to best in class antimalware technology, focused on this critical application layer, from an industry leader that shares Cellebrite’s commitment to research and continual improvement through innovation.”
Trend Micro launched three new solutions that span enterprise and consumer markets.
These innovative solutions are designed to defend against fast-evolving, sophisticated threats to provide IT administrators with greater control over corporate devices and offer consumers an enhanced user experience. The solutions include:
Safe Mobile WorkForce for secure mobile access to corporate data from mobile devices and an improved user experience; Trend Micro Mobile Security, to secure users’ data and privacy on Google Android, Apple iOS and Amazon Kindle device; and Mobile App Reputation, the world’s first widely-available mobile app evaluation service. It scans, blocks and identifies millions of hazardous apps from a variety of global online sources and has played a pivotal role in detecting and thwarting malicious apps’ damage at the BlackBerry app store, BlackBerry World.
And finally, Derek Skinner, Regional Director, Recovery and Investigative Services – EMEA, Absolute Software urges MWC visitors to wise up to security:
“It’s ironic that Mobile World Congress is more than a meeting of the world’s mobile industry – it’s also something of a free-for-all for Barcelona’s petty criminals. The event moved from its previous location in the city centre last year because of the high levels of theft and pickpocketing, a lot of it aimed at mobile devices and laptops. Despite the move, nearly two hundred attendees last year were victims of crime, and 30 per cent of those incidents occurred on the show floor itself. Even more concerning is that around 80 per cent of these incidents were thefts. The fact that the majority of these thefts will have been of devices used for work – laptops, mobiles and smartphones – demonstrates real premeditated opportunism. What better opportunity to get your hands on a top-end device than when thousands of the globe’s top mobile execs are in town?”