Smartphone, Tablet Security: 10 Lessons to Learn

News Analysis: Smartphone and tablet security is a hot-button issue right now, but unfortunately, not enough people know what's going on. Here are some assumptions to make about security on these devices to avoid being victimized.

It wasn't long ago that Symbian was the only mobile software dealing with an inordinate number of security problems, due to its popularity. But now that Android and iOS have started to dominate the marketplace, the number of mobile threats impacting consumers and enterprise users around the globe has skyrocketed. What's worse, the threats mobile device users face arebecoming more sophisticated by the day, which is also increasing the amount a damage and cost of a mobile device security breach.

But even with those troubles, consumers and even some corporate IT executives don't seem to be all that knowledgeable about the threats they face. Mobile security woes are still in their infancy, and the vast majority of consumers and enterprise users place much of their focus on the desktop, where spam, phishing scams and malware have been a part of their lives for years.

The time has come, however, for mobile device users to shift their focus. Cyber-criminals around the world are turning to smartphones and tablets to exploit personal information for their own gain. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Therefore, the only defense is knowledge and vigilance.

Read on to find out about the many important things to know related to smartphone and tablet security.

1. Android is a nightmare

Android is quickly becoming the top destination for cyber-criminals for two main reasons: It's popular and there aren't enough checks in place to safeguard the operating system. In fact, adding an application to the Android Market is as simple as signing up as a developer and making it available. Before Google has a chance to remove a bad app, tens of thousands of devices could be infected.It's a serious problem.

2. The threats are on the rise

Mobile security threats are getting worse. Android malware samples alone are up 472 percent in the second half of this year. What's more, cyber-criminals are also targeting iOS, Symbian and other operating systems. Malware creators are seeing real opportunities on the mobile front, and it's time we acknowledge that.

3. Apps can be a problem

As noted,Android applications can be filled with security problems. But it's not just Android. Even iOS- and BlackBerry-based applications can cause security issues if they're improperly protected or include links to malicious Websites. As the popularity of mobile applications continues to soar, expect security woes to increase with it.

4. Users are making themselves insecure

Mobile device users are partly to blame for the security woes impacting the globe right now. Consumers are surfing to unsafe sites, downloading applications without verifying their sources, and generally engaging in behavior that exposes them to malware and fraud. It's about time they start thinking about security first-and smartphone fun second.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...