Longer Support Periods Raise the Bar for Mobile Security

Longer Support Periods Raise the Bar for Mobile Security

October 26, 2023 at 01:02PM

Consumers worldwide are increasingly demanding secure devices that are supported for longer periods, according to a survey by Omdia. Companies like Google and Fairphone are driving this trend, but governments are also stepping in to ensure security and benefit consumer safety and the environment. Longer support periods and frequent security updates are crucial, as consumers rely on their mobile phones for sensitive activities. Transparency and standardization from device manufacturers, as well as regulatory pressure, are necessary to meet these demands. Additionally, security features are a significant consideration for consumers when purchasing a new smartphone, and governments, policymakers, and standards bodies are taking steps to define minimum security requirements.

Key Takeaways from the Meeting Notes:

1. Consumers prioritize security and longer support periods for their devices.
– The increasing use of mobile phones for sensitive activities necessitates regular security updates.
– Updates are crucial in identifying and resolving vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

2. The importance of extended support and frequent security-specific updates.
– While premium phones generally offer five years of support, many affordable phones only provide two years of security updates.
– Consumers often use their phones beyond the support period, potentially leaving them vulnerable.
– Longer support periods can benefit both security and sustainability by reducing phone replacements and production rates.

3. Responsibility for device security.
– Consumers believe operating system developers (such as Apple or Google) should be responsible for smartphone security.
– The device maker’s negotiations with the chipset maker play a crucial role in determining the support period.

4. Security as a key factor in purchasing decisions.
– Security features influence 69% of consumers when selecting a smartphone.
– Better security features can act as a purchase driver and differentiate between similar phone models.

5. Government and regulatory involvement.
– Governments and standards bodies are developing standards and regulations to ensure baseline security requirements and increase transparency.
– Legislations like the UK’s PSTI Act mandate support period disclosure at the point of sale.
– Proposed legislation and guidance on security updates exist in various countries, including the US, EU, China, Japan, and Korea.

6. Adoption of standards and labeling.
– Manufacturers should prioritize standards and certifications like ETSI EN 303 645 and TS 103 732 to prepare for upcoming regulations.
– While device labeling is currently voluntary, opting in can empower consumer choice and increase transparency.

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