Deutsche Telekom, Zimperium Tackle Mobile Security Challenges 20+ Years in the Making Varijanta/ThinkStock

Deutsche Telekom, Zimperium Tackle Mobile Security Challenges 20+ Years in the Making

Deutsche Telekom and Zimperium are releasing a new mobile security app aimed at delivering continuous threat detection for business customers.

Deutsche Telekom and enterprise mobile security provider Zimperium are releasing a new mobile security app, Mobile Protect Pro, aimed at delivering continuous threat detection for business customers.

The new Mobile Protect Pro app – powered by Zimperium's machine-learning algorithms – acts as a "continuous EKG" that monitors threats on a consistent basis. The solution detects a broad spectrum of attacks on mobile applications and monitors for attacks via Wi-Fi or other wireless connections. The range of detectable attack vectors expands upon what's generally known to or accessible by most mobile device management (MDM) systems.

According to Zimperium, the solution also provides the best possible security without sacrificing user privacy.

"Most alternative solutions on the market are designed as surveillance software, requiring constant communication with world-wide cloud systems, and from that surveillance data, scanning for potential threats," said John Michelsen, chief product officer at Zimperium, in a statement. "This surveillance approach not only limits what threats can be detected, but also raises significant privacy concerns."

Mobile Protect Pro will be the first solution in Deutsche Telekom's security portfolio to run on both Android and iOS.

Cause and effect

This solution debuts at a time when apprehension around mobile devices – especially in the workplace – is escalating quickly. Frankly, that apprehension isn't without cause. Mobile technology (and the accompanying malware evolution) has evolved at a worrying pace.

In just over two decades, mobile security has become one of the top concerns for IT departments. Today, most businesses today rely (at least to some degree) on the Internet of Things, which means that while malware is on the rise, so are the number of devices. Zimperium hopes to address this issue through its new partnership.

"The good news is that the mobile platforms, primarily Apple and Google, are serious about helping reduce the ease by which malware apps get onto our devices," said Michelsen. "The bad news is that there are at least seven other facets to the device that must be protected, and it is simply ignorant – from our experience with every other platform in computing – to think that mobile attacks will stop and the vulnerabilities will all be closed."

But if we can't eradicate mobile threats, can we at least curb them? Not yet, says Michelsen.

"Where there is a vulnerable asset to steal, criminals will make attempts to steal it," says Michelsen. "Mobility provides a huge number of assets with much less risk of discovery and prosecution than traditional crimes, so it's only logical that mobile threats will continue to grow."

With the mobile threat landscape inundated with new considerations, security vendors are asked to create more effective solutions – and get users to adopt them. This is where Zimperium and Deutsche Telekom have found opportunity.

As Zimperium's sole German partner, Deutsche Telekom will pilot the new Mobile Protect Pro app with a few select customers as a proof-of-concept in April. The solution should become generally available this summer, and it seems to be just the start of new security initiatives from the German telecommunications company. Deutsche Telekom is expected to debut its rest of its Magenta Security portfolio for all customers this year.

A brief timeline of mobile security:

  • [1994] IBM sets the stage for smarter phones: IBM's Simon Personal Communicator was a handheld, touchscreen cellular phone/PDA hybrid that enabled cellular phone calls, emails, faxes and pages. While the device was discontinued after only six months, some of its features – like calendar, calculator and notepad apps – would later be incorporated into the iPhone and subsequent smartphones.
  • [2004] Introducing mobile malware: In June 2004, a group of international hackers by the name of 29A developed the first computer worm that could infect mobile phones running Symbian OS. The virus, called Cabir, delivered some bad news to anti-virus researchers: mobile phones faced security risks similar to those found on computers.
  • [2008] Apple launches the App Store: The App Store, which would quickly be replicated by other vendors, opened the door for third-party app development and distribution. While Apple imposed heavy restrictions on developers, third-party apps have been proven vessels for malware.
  • [2010] Mobility in the enterprise: A smartphone use for business became the new normal by 2010, IT departments scrambled to access and secure corporate data on their employees' mobile devices through new MDM initiatives. Whether company-owned or personal, devices in the workplace were expected to be encrypted for security purposes and made compliant with corporate policies.
  • [2015] Mobile malware reaches all-time high: Kaspersky Lab reported a 300 percent increase in mobile malware between 2014 and 2015. The company identified ransomware and data stealers as the most dangerous threats over the course of the year.
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