Every new technological development brings with it specific challenges to overcome, and cell phones and other devices are no exceptions. From the point of view of the user, one of the best things about cell phones is the vast array of free ‘apps’, or small programs, that can be downloaded from service providers. These apps offer features that can help users in a variety of ways, from pointing them to the nearest Starbucks to providing up-to-the-second price quotes on stocks and bonds.
Unfortunately, they can also introduce malicious programs into a mobile computing environment. When workers use their cell phones only for personal business and those phones have no connection or interaction with a business network, then the risk of such malware is limited to the worker himself. It is often true, however, that employees have ways to link their mobile devices into the company networks. Alternatively, they may be using company-provided phones that are integrated heavily into the computing infrastructure at the company. In either case, IT staff will need to take proactive steps to help secure that environment against intrusive malware that may be downloaded along with free apps.
Businesses should also take steps to educate their workers. Some may believe that they will not end up with malware unless they download apps related to hacking, but this is far from accurate. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, there are more than 2,000 free apps available now that contain some form of malware, and most of these apps are innocuous on the surface.