Security threats come from many different sources, not the least of which may be in your pocket right now. Mobile security has traditionally been an all too often overlooked arena. But as we move into a new decade, it’s high time we all took a good hard look at our mobile devices as the potential security hazard they really are. Here is a brief overview of the top 5 mobile security threads for 2020.
Corporations are consistently worried about data leakage, one of the most worrisome threats to enterprise security last year. The risk of data breaches has increased significantly in the age of a multi-device holding and frequently remote workforce. Companies now have an almost 30% chance of experiencing at least one data security incident in the next two years. That’s a one in four chance of a data breach. The worst part of the problem is that in most cases, this data leakage isn’t intentionally nefarious. It’s the result of users making bad decisions about what apps are able to see and transfer information. Mobile devices are a critical part of this equation.
As more employees are asked, or allowed, to work remotely from their personal devices or from company-provided cell phones, the apps that individuals are allowed to download on those devices and how they are managed is rarely controlled. That leaves companies in the challenging situation of figuring out how to implement an app vetting process that does not overwhelm the administrator and at the same time does not frustrate the users. We as consumers have specific expectations of how we should be allowed to use our mobile devices. But when it comes to keeping our work data secure, it’s time to rethink that whole paradigm.
This hack is tried and true but just as troubling in the era of mobile devices as desktops. Social engineering cons are astonishingly effective. 92% of cybercrime starts with email according to a 2018 report by security firm FireEye. These incidents don’t involve malware. They simply rely on tactics such as impersonation to trick people into clicking dangerous links or providing sensitive information. Phishing grew by more than 60% over the course of 2017. And mobile users are at the greatest risk of falling for it since most mobile email clients display only a sender’s name – not the email address – making it that much easier to trick someone into thinking an email is from someone they know or trust.
When it comes to how safe you are on mobile, it all comes down to the network. Public wi-fi is littered with security concerns, as those who travel for business already likely know. But now when it’s so easy to pull out a mini-computer from your pocket, that questionable public network is too convenient for our own good. Corporate mobile devices use wi-fi almost three times as much as they use cellular data. That has lead to nearly a quarter of devices connecting to open and potentially insecure wi-fi networks. 4% of devices have already encountered a “man-in-the-middle” attack, where someone maliciously intercepts communication between two parties. Networking spoofing has increased dramatically and yet less than half of mobile users bother to secure their connection while traveling or using public networks.