Mobilisafe targets out-of-date firmware as security threat


Next time your mobile device asks you to update firmware, think twice before procrastinating that update. A new study on mobile device security found that roughly three quarters of the devices tested in small-to-medium sized businesses could eliminate “severe vulnerablities” by upgrading to the latest firmware.

The study comes from MobiliSafe, a Seattle venture-backed company founded by veterans of T-Mobile, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. MobiliSafe says that 71% of the devices in its study had high severity application and operating system vulnerabilities. The company says that Apple’s curated app store makes a difference when it comes to device security. Most of the security breaches on iOS devices were found in the operating system itself, while in Android devices there was a fairly even split between breaches in the operating system and the applications on the device.

“This doesn’t mean that employers should not allow employees to use Android devices; it just means that they need to be careful,” says MobiliSafe CEO Giri Sreenivas. Sreenivas thinks companies should consider policies like limiting the number of days that they will support a device with out-of-date software, in order to encourage firmware updates.

Sreenivas told RCR Wireless that many mobile device users do not realize that their personal data has been accessed. “The impact (of security breaches) is often transparent or silent as far as the user is concerned,” he says. He says that when device software is out of date it is easier for rogue apps to “take personal data off the device and sync to servers overseas. There is a market for this information.”

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR