Smartphone security survives hacking tournament

Security researchers expert in finding browser flaws were not as knowledgeable with mobile devices, as they failed to break into five smartphone devices offered up for attack in a hacking competition.

Security vendor TippingPoint had offered a prize of $10,000 for anybody who was able to break into a mobile devices running BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Nokia's Symbian or Windows Mobile.

Nobody was able to crack any of the devices, which was in sharp contrast to the browser competition at the Pwn2Own contest.

In that, Safari was hacked in a matter of seconds, while other browsers in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox fell in a space of a day although Google Chrome remained unscathed.

Terri Forslof, manager of security response at TippingPoint, said that it was difficult to answer the question of why the mobile devices were unhackable.

She said it wasn't necessarily just because they were inherently secure, as mobile security research was still at its early stages.

Forslof said on the company blog: "The mobile platform is limited by both memory and processing power.

"What that generally amounts to is that the vulnerabilities do exist, but actually exploiting them is complicated and unpredictable."