Musings on Mobile Security
Mobile devices are handy, mobile devices help you scale heights in the digital world and mobile devices make lots of things convenient for you. We could even say that mobile devices have brought about a new digital revolution.
Well, there’s another side of the mobile story! Coming to security, mobile devices are perhaps the least secure of them all. Yes, your desktop and your laptop are definitely much more secure than the mobile devices you own and which you take pride in. Whatever personal information you store on your mobile device or transmit through it is all vulnerable to attack- vulnerable many times more compared to your laptop or desktop. When you connect, through your mobile device, to a network (your office network, for example), that network becomes more vulnerable to cyber attacks than it had ever been.
Many surveys have shown us that mobile devices are dangerously vulnerable and that mobile security needs to be addressed with more seriousness and care. The Hewlett Packard Cyber Risk Report for 2016 told us that 75 percent of all mobile apps that it scanned had critical or high severity vulnerabilities. A Dimensional Research survey conducted last year found that 20 percent of all companies have admitted to the fact that their mobile devices had been breached. 79 percent of these companies whose mobile devices had been breached feel that mobile security is becoming harder to achieve and 94 percent felt that attacks on mobile devices would turn more and more frequent. We, at HackerCombat, have always held that mobile security should be taken more seriously and is a matter of grave concern in today’s world.
What we feel…
As security experts, we feel that a new and serious approach is needed as regards mobile security. Analyse real-world data from any security firm and you’d realize that mobile threats are on the rise, at an alarming pace. Every day, there are millions of threats happening targeting mobile devices and the information that mobile devices store or transmit, the browsing history they contain and the location tracking that they do are all becoming increasingly vulnerable to attack.
We also feel that with the growing popularity of IoT devices, things would become even more precarious; security needs to be accorded much more importance as times are changing…
Yes, times are changing!
Times are changing fast as regards cybersecurity. Just take a look back at how things were in the not-so-remote past and compare it with how it is today and you’d realize that we are, after all, right!
In the not-so-remote past, we had hackers who wanted to prove their talents; some of them would do the hacking so that they could brag about it and once in a while to expose vulnerabilities. Just look at how things have changed; today we have hackers who are after money. Yes, today hacking is all about the money involved, in one way or the other. If the cybercriminals are after your data, they are actually after money- money they could earn by exploiting or selling your data, or money they could earn as the ransom for decrypting your data which they have encrypted using a ransomware. Crime syndicates now function in the world of cybersecurity and it’s big money that’s involved.
Another big change, or a ‘big leap’ as we’d like to call it, that we’ve seen happening is that hackers, who earlier used to target individual systems, have now taken to targeting and attacking millions of devices at one go. With mobile devices being used in large numbers, this is becoming quite easy for cybercriminals to accomplish.
The automation of mobile security
With cybercriminals getting more active and attacks on mobile devices becoming more frequent, security firms have changed their approach. To ensure better mobile security, they have taken to automating mobile security. This becomes even more important as a considerably large chunk of mobile device users still continue to be callous and ignorant as regards cybersecurity.
Today, mobile security is more device-centric than being human-centric. A prominent security expert recently pointed out that today, in the realm of mobile security, only one percent of the job is done by humans. The rest of the work is done by the hardware plus the software apps. So today the thrust is on teaching the machines how to minimize the security risks.
Automation is definitely the trend today, but still, the human element is basic to security. It’s we human beings who use the mobile devices and hence every mobile user needs to be aware of the importance of mobile security. Users too need to be very careful while handling mobile devices; callousness has to be done away with.
Harnessing the knowledge!
When devices themselves are being used for ensuring better security, the emphasis is on harnessing the information that mobile device users provide.
Security firms today seek to use software to turn mobile devices into active sensors, which would be constantly monitoring for threats. Cybersecurity providers can use the information that all active mobile users contribute to do machine learning, which would later help them develop and employ AI (Artificial Intelligence) plus local monitoring and detection to ensure better and comprehensive mobile security.
Well, this is going to be the future of mobile security!
Julia Sowells250 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.