Business smartphone use ‘on the rise’

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Half of the British population now owns a smartphone.

With the number of people working from smartphones on the rise, businesses might be inclined to review their secure online document storage policies to ensure employees have all the files they need at their disposal no matter where they are working.

According to research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, half (50.3 per cent) of the British population now owns a smartphone, with Apple products making up almost a third (29.1 per cent) of the total.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at the organisation, commented: "For the first time ever, you are now in the minority if you don’t own a smartphone. With more people jumping on the bandwagon, there is huge opportunity for both retailers and manufacturers."

With the increase of smartphone use comes the rising risk of malware attacks on business mobile devices, with protection software manufacturer McAfee’s recent report showing the fourth quarter of 2011 was the busiest period for mobile malware to date.

Figures released by the company showed Android-enabled smartphones bore the brunt of infestations, while the total number of unique malware attacks was far higher than McAfee’s estimate of 75 million.

The company noted that this trend is set to continue, which could encourage more firms to check their employees’ business phones have sufficient protective measures installed and ensure data protection policies are upheld.

Android-powered smartphone users were most likely to be targeted by for-profit SMS-sending Trojans in the last three months of 2011, according to the report, and these generate income for cybercriminals by hacking into phones to send texts that cost their owners money.

McAfee also highlighted an "interesting variant" which saw the creators of one attack upload their malware to Arab-language discussion forums. This app sent texts relating to a key figure of the Tunisian uprising to smartphone users, and the Trojan was sent to other people through forwarded SMS messages.

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