Introduction

<p>Strong security on mobile devices had a good run. Smartphones and tablets initially managed to avoid the security problems endemic to larger computers.</p> <p>But the astoundingly rapid growth of the mobile-device market has <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1243-android-malware-problem.html">drawn the attention of digital thieves</a>, and now security professionals are demanding a new generation of protective measures for these vital and ubiquitous gadgets.</p> <p>From video passwords to new anti-virus software, here are five security features we'd like to see added to mobile digital devices at least for the couple of months before hackers find ways around them.</p>

Real-time biometric locks

<p>Retina scans and fingerprint readers? What is this, a Tom Clancy novel from 1987? Criminals have plenty of experience spoofing those old-school security features, but luckily, the powerful media recorders native to almost all modern mobile devices enable a new kind of integrated <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/188-the-future-of-id-ear-scanning.html">biometric security</a>.</p> <p>As highlighted by the 2010 paper "<a href="http://www.ejeta.org/issue-v2-n4/ejeta-v2-n4-2.pdf" target="_blank">Emerging Security Technologies for Mobile User Accesses</a>," published in the Technical Surveillance Counter Measure Journal, users could enter a "video password" by looking into their phone's cameras while speaking. This technique effectively combines facial recognition and voice recognition, resulting in a very strong digital lock.</p> <p>[<a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1645-smartphone-social-privacy-settings.html">How to Set Your Smartphone's Social Privacy Settings</a>]</p>

Administrator-only accounts

<p>Oddly, many people trust themselves more than they trust highly trained professionals when it comes to safety. Think of people who are afraid to fly in planes that are piloted by expert aviators, but who have no fear of driving themselves around on dangerous highways.</p> <p>Similarly, everyone wants to retain control of his or her workplace computer, even if the IT guys might do <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1271-grayware-threat-office-networks.html">a better job of securing it</a>. Administrator functions on business PCs allow for expert security intervention, and administrator-only accounts on home PCs prevent your kids from installing malware.</p> <p>Some think the time has come to extend that intervention capability to mobile devices.</p> <p>"Every employee in the world cringes when they hear the idea of admin accounts. Not being in control of your workstation is annoying enough," said Android security expert Georgia Weidman of Bulb Security. </p> <p>"But taking control of tablets and smartphone devices that are used in the workplace away from the end user, and putting the responsibility in the hands of the IT department, is probably the only way to keep users from downloading the latest and greatest cool-looking app that's really stealing all your company data in disguise."</p>

More curated app stores

<p>By monitoring all the offerings in the iTunes App Store for signs of malware, Apple has created an incredibly safe digital environment for its iOS devices.</p> <p>The Android Market sorry, Google Play is much less diligent about screening apps, resulting in <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1382-scariest-android-trojans.html">more opportunities for security breaches</a>. And don't get security officials started on the dangers of downloading apps "off-road" from sites of unknown provenance. </p> <p>Implementing a system where all applications are vetted before they reach users could almost eliminate entire classes of security concerns, says Martin Libicki, author of "Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar" (RAND Publishing, 2009) and a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif.</p> <p>For Libicki, the <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1454-apple-earnings-malware.html">lack of malware found on iOS devices</a> that haven't been jailbroken testifies to this fact.</p> <p>"There isn't any malware for the iPad. And more generally, there's no malware for iOS, even though there's 250 million of them [iOS devices] out there in the public hands," Libicki told SecurityNewsDaily. "When there were 250 million PCs, there was no shortage of malware.</p> <p>"It does suggest that if you want to eliminate malware, you can do it."</p> <p>[<a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1664-carriers-stolen-phones.html">Why Won't Cellular Carriers Turn Off Stolen Phones?</a>]</p>

Better password protection

<p>This one seems like a no-brainer, but it comes up again and again. Pattern locks on smartphones have proven mostly secure, but logging onto different Wi-Fi networks, accessing secure Web pages and interfacing with other devices create plenty of weak links in the chain.</p> <p>Making users enter a password to connect to a computer, equipping mobile devices with personal VPN's and upgrading firewall protection could help shore up those vulnerabilities.</p> <p>"Certainly, as our smartphones become the center of our universe, holding all our personal and work information, the security posture of these devices needs to be improved," Weidman told SecurityNewsDaily. "Better password requirements would be a good start.</p> <p>"Most companies I've worked with only require a four-digit pin to connect a smartphone to company resources," Weidman added. "Enforcing security policies on smartphones is difficult at this point, particularly in <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1435-bring-device-work-security-risks.html">bring-your-own-device situations</a>. They are a relatively new medium, and I don't think security mechanisms have caught up to their implications."</p>

Strong mobile anti-virus software

<p>This is yet another classic desktop feature that mobile devices need in order to fight growing security concerns.</p> <p>While some anti-virus software products currently exist for phones and tablets, they <a href="http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/1594-android-antivirus-products-dont-work.html">don't do nearly as much</a> as their desktop progenitors for various reasons. And for iPhones, they barely even exist at all.</p> <p>"Currently, anti-virus manufacturers are unable to create anti-virus for iOS. Apple does not expose enough of the operating system to vendors to create a product," said Tim Armstrong, a mobile-malware expert at Kaspersky Lab.</p> <p>"Android malware is growing both in terms of sophistication and sheer numbers," Armstrong said. "We will have to continually improve our efforts in combating the different types of malware, as well as their delivery methods, in the future to stay on top of this ever-developing threat." <p>[<a href="http://mobile-security-software-review.toptenreviews.com/?cmpid=ttr-snd">10 Best Mobile Security Software Products</a>]</p>

5 Smartphone Security Features We'd Like to See