Smartphones Need Smart Security

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In news that will surprise no one, mobile viruses are on the rise. McAfee's recently released report on mobile security indicates that manufacturers are aware of the increase in mobile security issues: Half of all global manufacturers reported mobile malware infections, third-party application problems (such as the one that RIM patched earlier this month), and spam attacks. Additionally, nearly half of the manufacturers believed that their business had been significantly impacted by costs related to patching and fixing affected devices.

Smartphone users live in a world where the Conficker worm just won't die, and even Apple users have to protect against phishing scams. Many smartphones are vulnerable, even on platforms and browsers seen as impermeable -- S60 users recently realized this firsthand when the first known incidence of Symbian malware raised its ugly head a few days ago.

News of that exploit arrived just days after F-Secure announced its Mobile Security solution, designed specifically for Symbian. Security companies are working overtime to find solutions that will work on mobile handsets with limited memory size, battery life, and processing power.

Many security providers are looking to develop mobile solutions that don't suck up valuable memory space. One such example is AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield. The company released the iPhone version of its flagship product late last year and has plans to extend the service to other handsets sometime this year. HotSpot Shield provides a private network that takes browser traffic, encrypts it, and sends it to VPN servers and onto the Web. HotSpot Shield only requires iPhone users to change the VPN settings on their phones. Nothing is loaded onto the handset, so HotSpot Shield is not competing for space alongside your apps. HotSpot Shield is free (but ad supported) and has an added bonus: It provides a U.S. IP address, so content that is unavailable outside of the States (Hulu, I'm looking at you) is accessible if you're using the HotSpot Shield. There's no magic bullet to protect your smartphone, but solutions like HotSpot Shield are a step in the right direction.

This story, "Smartphones Need Smart Security" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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