Verizon recently released their 2021 Mobile Security Index report, and in it they summarize their research findings by looking at 856 IT professionals. These are the people that buy, secure, and manage the mobile and internet of things (IOT) devices for their companies.
In a year of firsts and unexpected experiences, what did they find?
That the majority of us aren’t doing what needs to be done in order to secure our personal and professional information. In fact, 45% believe that their companies were rushed to mobilize remotely, and therefore have had to sacrifice security in order to “get the job done”. And while remote working was at one point a necessity, now it is being evaluated as a permanent solution for many companies as they realize that they can get the job done without paying for the overhead and costs that come with maintaining physical office locations.
As mentioned, (many times) before, this new landscape of business meant ample opportunity for hackers to take advantage of our uncertainty as well as the general public’s lack of knowledge in cybersecurity matters. Mobile phones became a main way of communicating for many remote workers, but when was the last time you considered the cybersecurity risks of that device? And that smart watch that is linked to your device? Another door that might get left open accidentally to your information.
It isn’t that you aren’t trying to be diligent at all times, it is just that the connection to a virus or ransomware may have been imbedded into your psyche when it comes to using laptops or desktop computers, but your guard may be down as you use mobile devices. Besides, it’s harder to hover over a link when you’re viewing it on your watch right? And logging in and out on your phone? That’s very unlikely to happen – you just leave the apps running in the background all of the time.
With one in five companies that were surveyed saying that their mobile-device security was compromised by cybercriminals, and two-thirds acknowledging an increase in risks over the past year, we can only expect these numbers to rise as the remote workforce numbers increase as well.
Before too much time passes in this remote way of working, we need to take action to remedy the way we think about mobile cybersecurity. The first and easiest thing to do? Train your team. Phishing attempts increased dramatically in 2020, so start with making sure that you create awareness around this type of attack. This one thing will make a dramatic difference in the risk that you face as a business owner, IT support person, or “everyday” human.
The threat is there, it isn’t going away, and we need to collectively work to make the “new normal” safer every day.