More smartphones means more security threats

The increased usage of smartphones is leading to significant mobile security threats, Airwide Solutions has said.

According to Home Office figures, 800,000 cases of handset thefts were reported in the UK in 2006.

Of those mobile phones taken, a significant number were smartphones, according to Airwide Solutions.

The mobile solutions company stressed that because the increasing percentage of lost handsets are smartphones, users are at risk of losing bank details, PIN codes, passwords, company financial data and other personal details.

In a bid to counter mobile security threats and fraud, Airwide Solutions has outlined three ways in which operators can help protect consumers from privacy and information loss threats.

Firstly, Airwide Solutions suggests deploying technology such as an equipment identity register (EIR) that will allow phones to be instantly disabled on the network once they have been reported stolen. The second tact is to deploy technology that can lock and wipe data from stolen smartphones. Finally, Airwide Solutions proposes to use extension technologies that offer a demographic view of devices on the network.

In deploying such anti-fraud measures, operators are able to maintain that devices are only subsidised for use with a contract account. Should a subscriber attempt to use a pre-paid SIM in a device, such as an iPhone, locked to a contract account the phone will be inoperable on their network.

Chief marketing officer for Airwide Solutions Jay Seaton said that guarantees needed to be put in place to protect the information of customers.

"Protecting subscribers from theft or loss of the device will be one of the most important features operators can offer in the coming years," he said.

"Subscribers and companies will need guarantees that if the handset is lost or stolen, the valuable data within will be protected and secured. Operators implementing these steps to guarantee the integrity of subscriber information in the event of loss can assure current and prospective subscribers that their data will be protected."