The Gartner Group predicted that malware would be crippling PDAs by the end of 2001. Although PalmOS, Symbian and WindowsCE mobile operating systems have been subject to attack over the past few years, they have definitely not suffered the malware beatdown that modern desktop operating systems continue to suffer on a daily basis. Exactly how long will PDAs be able to dodge a severe case of malware?
The continuous barrage of exploits that are readily available for vulnerabilities in the desktop OS, such as Windows and Linux, is proof that history continues to teach us an important lesson. Attackers actively target technology that grows in popularity and functionality and is implemented with little security. In essence, the attacker’s ultimate goal is to negatively infect as many systems as possible with little effort. While desktop OS vendors attempt to focus on securing their products, it seems like the mobile OS has been left behind.
With the sleek new design and added features of recent BlackBerry devices, as well as the introduction of Apple’s iPhone, the appeal of all-in-one PDA devices is not only growing within the business community, but with homemakers and teenagers as well. It won’t be long before the current cell phone population will begin sporting these devices without realizing the potential security risk. Not only will this open a new channel for attack, it also will change the playing field as the process of protecting info expands beyond the perimeter.
Let’s actually learn from past mistakes and take the initiative this time around by implementing security technology for PDAs today, not tomorrow.