Mobile devices equally at risk as computers, says security provider

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Verizon Business, the IT, communications, security and network solutions provider, claims mobile devices are just as vulnerable to security breaches as unprotected computers on the internet.

The company said it has reviewed Visa’s Mobile Acceptance Best Practices and wants to add its voice in support of this important first step in addressing the rapidly evolving mobile payment landscape.

The protection of client data is critical to the success of and reputation of any merchant capturing and transmitting data to complete a transaction, it said.

The power to purchase over a mobile device extends the store farther than merchants could have imagined only five years ago. But with power comes increased responsibility for all parties involved.

David Tran, lead enterprise solutions architect of retail vertical solutions at Verizon, and Jen Mack, director of consulting services at Verizon, have blogged on the issue.

“Too many consumers take for granted that any application downloaded or pushed to their mobile device must be safe, forgetting the device is just as vulnerable to threats as an unprotected computer on the internet,” the duo said.

“Apps that promise ‘faster check-outs’ can just as quickly expose consumers and retailers to new threats, from the palm of your hands. Importantly, a device is not secure unless you keep it secure. Loading all your credit card numbers, pins, and passwords onto your device to save time and become more organised, and then not utilising a password to lock your device, is similar to writing all those important pieces of data down and then leaving them on a sticky note on the wall in the train station. Lose your device; lose your data.

“Security must be considered an essential requirement from the very beginning of the development and deployment of any application or mobile tool – not after it has been released and compromised. This challenge represents a great opportunity for the industry to prove it can best self govern and regulate itself to truly protect consumers. Let’s get some experts from the wireless carriers, device manufacturers, and key industry groups to work together to improve security for mobile devices.

“Developing a secure mobile commerce strategy must involve some hard work, or it will simply be too easy for the bad guys. Too much is at stake for all parties involved; the speed of technology could outpace the safeguards put in place to protect the new payment landscape.”