Ghost in the Smart Phone

Noted cybersecurity analyst and author Winn Schwartau warned the audience at AFA’s CyberFutures Conference last week that the proliferation of personal hand-held computing devices and use of 4G networks is making it that much easier for the bad guys to access networks and information systems. From iPads to Android smart phones, there will be four billion networked computing devices in the world by 2014, and 20 billion by 2020, he said. There are more than half a million applications for these personal computing devices, yet there is no code review process for them and estimates show that more than 20 percent of the “apps” are infected with malware, said Schwartau. He called iPhone applications the “greatest hostile software-delivery system created by man” and said, “Your infrastructure has already been ‘pwned,’ to use a hacker term.” (The term means “getting owned” in the sense of suffering a humiliating defeat.) Schwartau asserted during his March 31 speech that a “perfect storm” of vulnerability is emerging with the advance of computing technology.