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A new credential intended for mobile applications developers is being created by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT industry, and viaForensics, a digital forensics and security firm, the two organizations announced. The secure mobile application developer credential and corresponding testing services – scheduled for availability in the first half of 2012 – are intended to meet the growing needs of software application vendors in their pursuit of qualified professionals to work in the fast-growing mobile apps market.

“The mobile app development world is a vast arena for innovation, but too often security has been a secondary concern in the rush to bring new apps to the market,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA. “Because mobile devices typically combine both personal and corporate data, they’re a rich target for cyber-criminals and hackers. CompTIA and viaForensics intend to elevate the level of security awareness among mobile app developers.”

ViaForensics and CompTIA intend to offer secure mobile application developer credentials and testing services for both the Apple iOS and Google Android operating environments. This collaborative effort combines CompTIA’s role as a provider of vendor-neutral skills certifications for IT professionals with ViaForensics’ appSecure service, appWatchdog and a wealth of mobile security intelligence.

Research firm IDC estimates that the number of annual mobile app downloads will grow from 10.7 billion in 2010 to nearly 183 billion by 2015. Other industry observers predict similarly epic numbers of users of these handy, but potentially risky, applications. “Over 45 million smartphones are in use, not only by U.S. consumers, but at companies and government agencies across the nation,” said Andrew Hoog, chief investigative officer for viaForensics. “Vulnerabilities found in these mobile devices place their owners, companies and our country at risk.”

The announcement is part of CompTIA’s broader initiative to address issues impacting companies doing business in the mobility marketplace. CompTIA is also developing a new mobility curriculum, consisting of educational programs, workshops, how-to guides and other resources, to meet the specific needs of IT channel companies. “CompTIA’s global distribution and partnering programs will provide scale and access for the programs, while the depth of viaForensics secured applications expertise will afford user access to industry best services,” said Terry Erdle, executive vice president of skills certification at CompTIA.