Growing sales of smartphones and tablets, along with a price drop in software, is giving boxed mobile security a boost in 2013.
With Gartner revealing that worldwide smartphone sales grew 46.5 per cent in Q2 2013 – resulting in 435 million devices sold, and IDC predicting that shipments of tablets will surpass PCs in Q4 2013, it seems consumers are becoming more and more inclined to keep their precious devices safe from malware.
“The sales volume of boxed security software enabled for smartphones and tablets sold in the first half of 2013 grew by 316 per cent compared to the first half of 2012,” said GfK account manager Dominic Ashford.
“This shows consumers are becoming more aware of the need to protect these devices as they would a more traditional computer.”
Another big contributor to the growth of this software appears to be a more affordable price tag.
“The price for mobile-enabled security software dropped by 27 per cent comparing Jan-July 2013 with the same period the previous year,” explained Ashford.
“The price decline will have made this kind of software a more viable purchase for many consumers, and therefore will have also made the attach sale easier for retailers.”
So what risks do consumers face when going online via their mobile device? PCR asked Norton’s technical expert Stefan Wesche. “A major risk is mobile malware and unwanted applications,” he said.
Recent research by Norton revealed that out of more than four million Android apps analysed, more than 30 per cent leaked data such as personal contacts or call logs.
“Apps can leak a variety of data from mobile phones; they can leak anything which they are granted permission to when the user first installs an application,” explained Wesche.
“A lot of free apps, for example, have advertising built in and therefore request and track the location of the user to display local advertisements. During installation on Android devices they typically request the user’s permission to track their GPS location. Options to stop the access are limited: users only have the choice to either not install the app or to install it whilst accepting all requested permissions.”
Norton’s new Mobile Insight software processes 10,000 new apps every 24 hours and to date has identified 300,000 apps as malicious.
“Many consumers are unfortunately not aware of the risks that they are facing with their mobile devices until it is too late. This will change over time, but there is still work to do here until we reach the same situation as there is on PCs, where luckily most people wouldn’t go on the internet without security software.”