The sharp increase in our use of smartphones and things like the iPad is making them a more popular target for information thieves.

An Ottawa security firm says iPhones and iPads are perhaps the biggest security risk of all.

Computer security specialist Salim Douba at Cygnos Security has reviewed security on the iPhone and iPad and said it has made him more cautious.

"I shake my head now based on what I know, I am not sure I want to use the devices the way I did before," he said.

Security is not the strong point of the Apple devices. He said he can hack into an iPad in less than two minutes and access all files. Most are not encrypted.

"So far on the iPad there is not any interest in security, in developing defensive tools that would reduce the risk and mitigate damage from an attack," he said.

Douba says Apple devices are designed for ease of use and that rarely leads to being secure.

Stewart Cawthray works for IBM security and said he agrees with Douba about Apple. He said that we love our mobile devices, they're replacing laptops and they're jammed with personal information.

"I think that we're at the stage where people are developing awareness campaigns about security. Companies are telling employees that they need to be careful and think about security," Cawthray said. "I think we are at the stage we were with laptops 10 to 15 years ago."

This week IBM and Trend Micro security both released year-end security reviews. Both spotted a sharp increases in security holes and attacks on mobile devices - in fact a sevenfold increase in 2010 over 2009,

IBM experts urge us to use a password, firewalls and security software for all mobile devices, be able to do a remote delete of all information if the device is stolen or lost and limit Bluetooth access.

"My biggest recommendation is to use a password on your device so that nothing can be activated without a password," said Cawthray. "It can save you so much and it is the simplest way to protect your device."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent