Not many of us can survive more than 30 minutes without our mobile devices. Whether we are texting our significant other, using GPS, capturing a video, sending out a tweet or playing a game, we rely on our hand-sized wonders to increase our efficiency and make life easier.
And that is why mobile security is so crucial.
Plus, if we use our devices for company purposes, there are additional security threats like those that come from unauthorized users accessing the company’s cloud, or threats that arise from unsecured networks.
The average cost of a corporate data breach is an incredible $3.86 million, according to a 2018 report by the Ponemon Institute. That’s 6.4 percent more than the estimated cost just one year earlier.
According to an Arxan technology report, 90 percent of apps surveyed had at least two out of 10 of major security risks. Surprisingly, some 50 percent of businesses don’t allocate a separate budget for mobile apps security.
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Nick Ismail, an editor for Information Age, says human behavior plays a key part in exposing devices to vulnerabilities. “Threats targeted at mobile devices used by company employees can even compromise the company itself,” Ismail notes.
Meanwhile, Vancouver entrepreneur and digital security innovator, Thierry LeVasseur, lists three threats particular to mobile devices:
- Vulnerabilities in mobile payment services. Hackers will try to bypass security measures and steal credit card information via mobile payment apps.
- Mobile Browser Hijacking. Hackers can gain total control of a device by exploiting browser vulnerabilities and access personal data.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Whether intentionally connecting or unknowingly having your phone set to auto-connect, your data could be seen by others through insecure apps or web-browsing
Thierry LeVasseur, who has secured several different patents in the areas of email security and data protection, says it’s essential to keep your apps and software updated. He also suggests turning off Wi-Fi until you need it and using lock codes and vaults. “Do not jailbreak your phone unless you know what you are doing,” LeVasseur adds.
Dan Cheavront, a product marketer at IBM for Maa560, stresses the importance of mobile threat prevention (MTP). In most cases, he says, a complete solution is required to manage and secure devices, users, apps, and networks.
“Security teams can combat these threats by leveraging an app that scans devices and configurations within the network, or by setting up security protocols in case malware is present on the network,” says Cheavront. “The best strategy is to be proactive so security professionals can swiftly defang malware that finds its way onto a corporate device or network.”
JR Raphael, a journalist, and columnist who’s been covering Android and Chrome OS since their earliest days says most users aren’t acting maliciously. Instead, they “inadvertently make ill-advised decisions about which apps are able to see and transfer their information.”
One of the biggest challenges is implementing an app vetting process that does not overwhelm the administrator and does not frustrate the users, says Dionisio Zumerle, research director for mobile security at Gartner.
Mobile security will continue to be a hot topic and business opportunity for years to come, says Patrick Donegan, a principal analyst with HardenStance. “The operators need new sources of revenue, and the threats aren’t going away any time soon,” Donegan says. “From a telco perspective, they have excellent reach into the enterprise. They just need to offer compelling services and invest in people who can sell and deliver those services.”