A pocket-sized threat

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Companies are increasingly turning to mobile devices for business use as the technology becomes more and more sophisticated, but so is the threat they can pose to firms. Now risk managers are being urged to review their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered.

For many companies, increasing exposure to malware (software which is designed to steal information from a computer or mobile device) is likely to be the worst of these risks. The problem of malware designed to target mobile devices has grown exponentially in recent years, with the number of samples recorded per month increasing from 800 in 2011 to 6,300 in 2012, according to Nathan Steuer, business development director of PaRaBaL Inc.

Companies need to change the way that the treat mobile devices, Steuer told PropertyCasualty360. “Now is the time for companies to start looking at cell phones as miniature, flexible computers,” he said.

As well as increased exposure to malware, mobile devices could leave companies at risk of data breaches, including:

  • personal information
  • corporate / trade secrets
  • other confidential information

Education is crucial in protecting against these risks, and training employees in identifying malware can be especially helpful. “Security isn’t a product, it’s a process of educating users before moving onto software solutions,” Steuer said.

In developing strategies, risk managers should be aware that – while many security procedures will be transferable from their companies’ broader IT policies – different mobile devices use different operating systems, and these have their own particular vulnerabilities.

 “I would recommend a careful review of the Commercial General Liability (CGL) or Cyber policies, and how the terms ‘computer’ or ‘computer network’ are defined in terms of cyber fraud,” Scott Godes, counsel in the Insurance Coverage Practice at Dickstein Shapiro told PropertyCasualty360. “Many are written broadly and may include mobile devices specifically.”

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