Security, is There an App for That? EU's Cyber-security Agency Highlights Risks & Opportunities of Smartphones

By Enisa - European Network And Information Security Agency, PRNE
Thursday, December 9, 2010

BRUSSELS and HERAKLION, Greece, December 10, 2010 - A new ENISA report identifies the top security risks and opportunities of
smartphone use and gives practical security advice for businesses, consumers
and governments. Top risks include spyware, poor data cleansing when
recycling phones, accidental data leakage, and unauthorised premium-rate
phonecalls and SMSs.

Worldwide smartphone sales doubled last year (Gartner) and 80 million
were sold worldwide in Q3 2010 alone: ENISA's new report on smartphone
security risks and opportunities is timely. If you are one of the hundreds of
millions of smartphone users worldwide, you probably spend more time with
your phone than your spouse: with its array of applications and sensors, it
may even know more about you. These new life-partners are now an essential
tool across all sections of society, from top government officials to
businesses and consumers. They are famous for their diversity of functions; a
smartphone can be a contactless wallet, a camera/videophone, a barcode
reader, an email client, or a way of accessing social networks. "Given the
growing importance of smartphones for EU businesses, governments and
citizens, we consider it essential to assess their security and privacy
implications," says Prof. Dr.Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA.

In its new report, ENISA analyses the key security opportunities and
risks. Some of the key risks are:

    - Accidental leakage of sensitive data -e.g. through GPS data attached to

    - Data theft by malicious apps and from stolen, lost or decommissioned

    - "Diallerware" - malicious software which steals money through
       unauthorised phonecalls.

    - Overload of network infrastructure by smartphone applications.

In terms of opportunities, backup is often very well integrated into
smartphone platforms, making it easy to recover data if the phone is lost or
stolen. Another opportunity lies in the use of app-stores: "Most smartphone
users only install 3rd party software through controlled software
distribution channels," says Dr. Marnix Dekker, co-author of the report.

The most important result of the report is a comprehensive set of
strategies for securing smartphones. "Smartphones are a goldmine of sensitive
and personal information - it's vital to understand how to maintain our
control over this data. We've designed our recommendations to plug into a
typical security policy," says Dr. Giles Hogben, co-author of the report. The
report has recommendations for businesses, top officials and consumers - and
for dealing with the security risks of mixing these roles.

Read the full report:

Link to the video clip:


For interviews: Ulf Bergstrom, Spokesman, ENISA, press at, Mobile: +30-6948-460143, or for further information; Dr Marnix Dekker, marnix.dekker Q

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