Mobile Security Compromise Hits 40% of Firms

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Two-fifths (39%) of global companies have suffered a major mobile security compromise over the past year, many of them via IoT devices, according to a new report from Verizon.

The vendor’s Mobile Security Index report for 2020 is compiled from interviews with 876 professionals responsible for buying, managing and securing connected devices, as well as information from partner organizations including the FBI.

The percentage of organizations that suffered a compromise — a successful attack resulting in “a system’s defenses being rendered ineffective” — rose from 27% in 2018. The result was mainly downtime (59%), loss of data (56%) and compromise of other devices (46%).

Over half (55%) of those suffering a major impact from such a compromise said the repercussions were lasting.

IoT deployments are on the rise, but 31% of these respondents admitted they’d suffered a compromise.

This is concerning as 84% use such devices to gather personal data and a quarter don’t anonymize it. Some 41% of respondents claimed the IoT data they gather is “extremely valuable” and 39% said that it is “quite valuable.”

Elsewhere, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots remain a major source of cybersecurity risk: 20% of organizations that suffered a mobile compromise claimed that one was involved.

Phishing is also a major threat, but on mobile devices, just a small percentage (15%) of attacks come via email. Many more (85%) take place via messaging, productivity, gaming and other apps.

Although the figure has dropped slightly from last year, over two-fifths (43%) of organizations said that they have sacrificed mobile security in the past to “get the job done.” Expediency (62%), convenience (52%) and profitability targets (46%) were the top reasons.

Bryan Sartin, executive director, global security services at Verizon, argued that with many firms relying on mobile devices to run day-to-day operations, security should be a priority.

“The types of devices, diverse applications and further emergence of IoT devices further complicate security. Everyone has to be deliberate and diligent about mobile security to protect themselves and their customers,” he added.

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