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    USA Today: Personal mobile devices create security headaches for biz

    USA Today reports on privacy and security problems that can arise when personal mobile devices, such as smartphones, are used by employees:

    Executives eager to sport the hottest tech gear and workers accustomed to mixing social and work activities on the go are multitasking on personally owned mobile devices in record numbers.

    Workers are bringing mobile devices to work at such a scale that company security technicians can’t keep up. “It’s an impossible task,” says Patrick Sweeney, product management vice president at network security firm SonicWall. “Control of these devices has become very complex because of the varying software and device types.”

    Results of a recent survey of 1,400 technology professionals in 14 nations show 21% of companies have no restrictions on use of personal mobile devices, while 58% have lightweight policies, and only 20% have stringent guidelines. The poll was conducted by security firm McAfee, a division of Intel. […]

    An obvious risk: employee-owned smartphones, tablets and e-readers containing work-related materials that turn up missing. Some 40% of organizations responding to McAfee’s survey reported mobile devices lost or stolen, often involving the loss of critical business data.

    What’s more, the cyberunderground is adapting hacks and scams — proven to work profitably on desktops and laptops — to Internet-connected mobile devices, says Anup Gosh, founder of Web browser security firm Invincea. […]

    Underground and legitimate researchers flushed out 163 fresh security holes in mobile operating systems in 2010, compared with 115 in 2009, says Dean Turner global intelligence director for antivirus giant Symantec.

    It won’t be long before cyberthieves steal information off mobile memory cards and run networks of corrupted computers from mobile devices, Turner testified at a congressional hearing on cybersecurity threats recently.

    They already are creating tainted apps, several of which have surfaced in the Android Market, Google’s official online store, says Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer at Lookout Mobile Security.

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