ORLANDO, Fla. -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced new software to help organizations develop mobile applications that are more secure by design.
With the new software, IBM customers can build security into the initial design of their mobile applications so that vulnerabilities will be detected early in the development process. The announcement, made at the IBM Innovate 2012 conference here, further expands IBM's strategy to provide clients with a mobile platform that spans application development, integration, security and management.
When IBM launched the IBM Security Systems Division last year, a key goal for the organization was to eliminate silos that existed in the security space. Patrick Vandenberg, program director for IBM Security, said. IBM has done just that and the new mobile technology is an example of that.
"Before now, every group had its own security solutions in their own silos," Vandenberg said. "So consumption of security was difficult." Yet, all of that has changed now, he said.
Today, with more than 5 billion mobile devices in the world--and only 2 billion computers--the shift to mobile devices as the primary form of connecting to corporate networks is increasing rapidly. Securing those devices is becoming a top priority for security executives and CIOs. As companies embrace the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, the need to secure the applications that run on these devices is becoming more critical. According to the 2011 "IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report, mobile exploits increased by 19 percent in 2011. In addition, according to the recently released data from the IBM Center for Applied Insights study, 55 percent of respondents cited mobile security as a primary technology concern over the next two years.
The rapid consumerization of mobile endpoints, applications and services has created the urgent need to secure corporate applications on employees' devices, IBM said. With the latest release of the IBM Security AppScan portfolio, IBM now offers a robust application development security solution, allowing clients to integrate mobile application security testing throughout the application lifecycle.
"We are seeing increased demand from companies looking to extend their corporate applications to mobile devices," said Stuart Dross, vice president of sales and marketing at Cigital, in a statement. "The ability to scan native and hybrid mobile applications for security vulnerabilities is a major step forward in securing sensitive data and mitigating security risks."
Meanwhile, mobile applications represent a new threat target, since they carry a higher risk of attack compared with Web application vulnerabilities, IBM said. Attackers are increasingly focusing on mobile applications because many organizations are not aware of the security risks introduced by the most basic mobile applications. Beyond the traditional threats, for example, a hacker could perform a SQL injection or scripting attack on the applications. Mobile applications also come under attack from malware and phishing, or scanning QR codes with malicious scripts. Additionally, mobile applications have vulnerabilities specific to mobile devices because they often store sensitive data that can be leaked to malicious applications. This data, once stored locally, typically is outside the protection of the corporate security programs. The new AppScan analysis capabilities will find these vulnerabilities to help developers build more secure mobile applications.
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