Smartphone Users: Remember to Buckle Up

Carl Weinschenk

Over the past two decades, a steadily larger segment of the population automatically put on its seatbelts when getting into a car. The crowds of people at outside smoking areas are thinning (though not quickly enough). Those trends, experts say, are the result of long-term educational efforts. The norm has moved from not using seatbelts and smoking to doing the opposite.


That same type of change doesn't seem to be working, at least not yet, in the cell phone sector. New findings by ABI Research, here reported at eWEEK, suggest that executives are not using their cell phone seat belts, so to speak.


But it may just be a matter of time. The study says that 80 percent of the 250 senior executives in the U.S. who participated in the study understand there are issues: 41 percent believe mobile phones are more vulnerable than e-mail and 39 percent say they are equal. The bad news is that only 18 percent of companies said they have mobile voice call encryption in place, though 55 percent initially reported that they did.


As usual, there is no shortage of warnings. Security Firm 41st Parameter says that compromised iPhones, Android-based devices and BlackBerries will lead to a rise in the level of fraud. Dutch firm XS4ALL reported last month on a worm that steals information from jailbroken iPhones. Tech Fragments outlines concerns voiced by Research in Motion's Vice President of BlackBerry security Scott Totzke that smartphones potentially can be used in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the carrier network to which they are attached.


None of these warnings seem particularly fresh. While they haven't been as effective as efforts to get people to stop puffing or to buckle up, they clearly have gotten executives' attention. Perhaps it's a two-step process. The initial goal is to do just that: Get people to take notice. Only then does a concerted effort to get them to take a positive action become feasible.

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