Technology & Social Media

Mobile security: It’s time to pay attention

Pdas We all have computers in our offices, and all of those computers are running some type of anti-virus software, right?

And if your answer is, "No," someone will be over shortly to slap you silly. As CPAs, you know better than to leave your sensitive data vulnerable to attack. Of course, you're protecting it.

Now, a quick show of hands: How many of us are running similar software on our mobile devices?

My guess is, not very many of us. But we should be.

That's the gist of a National Public Radio interview with Baltimore's NPR tech wiz, Mario Armstrong. In it, Armstrong says mobile security is a hot topic these days, and with good reason: We're all carrying these gadgets around, and many of us have loaded sensitive data onto them. It's a market that's rife with opportunity for high-tech ne'er-do-wells.

"People in America carry three things -- your wallet, your keys and a mobile phone. So there's a large enough market for hackers or those to want to attack these devices," Armstrong said. "It's just a matter of time before we see some type of major outbreak."

Before we panic, though, Armstrong says we need to keep a few things in mind.

First, it's difficult for hackers to launch a coordinated attack on mobile devices, given all of the different service providers and mobile operating systems out there.

Second, says NPR, "in the past five years, there have been about 500 mobile virus attacks, compared with millions against PCs in that same period." In other words, a little perspective, please.

And third, Armstrong says a lot of the hype about mobile security is coming straight from the folks who make anti-virus software.

That said, mobile security is not something we want to ignore. Indeed, as business becomes more mobile, security will become increasingly important.

Listen to NPR's interview with Armstrong in its entirety.

Is your mobile device running anti-virus software?

Want to know more about network security?
Listen to our podcast featuring an interview with Mark Silvestri of CNA, underwriter of the AICPA's Professional Liability Insurance Program, which is provided by Aon Insurance Services and Willis HRH.


Bill Sheridan