Mass adoption of mobile devices has exposed consumers and businesses to new security risks that must be managed efficiently
India has fallen in love with mobile technology if the findings of two surveys by Symantec are to be believed. Two in every three Indians consider themselves to be addicted to their mobile phones. Businesses,too,are embracing
mobility,with 7 in 10 Indian
respondents perceiving the benefits of mobility as equal to or outweighing the risks.
The findings of the two latest surveys by Symantec and Norton dont throw up surprises but they stress,more than ever,the indispensability of smartphones in modern life,especially in times of increasing addiction to e-commerce. While the Symantec State of Mobility Survey 2013 focused on key trends in the enterprise mobility space,the Norton Cybercrime Report 2012 revealed diverse trends in the consumer mobility space.
Shantanu Ghosh,VP and MD,India product operations,Symantec,shared insights on security awareness vis-a-vis increased usage and dependence on mobile devices by consumers and businesses. As much as 68% of the respondents feel most addicted to their mobile phones. Even though the vast majority of
mobile phones are still feature phones,virtually all new phones connect to the internet as a minimum.
The Norton survey confirmed that Indians rely heavily on their mobile devices,with 68% considering them to be
addicted to them and 43% sharing that mobile device is amongst the top two things they would save from a fire. While
Indians are most addicted to their mobile devices they are
also more susceptible to losing their mobile phone or having them stolen at 53% across Asia Pacific. The survey also reveals that 69% of consumers access internet through their mobile devices and 31% access work emails on their mobile devices. Yet 29% users do not maintain passwords on their mobile devices and 40% people do not use any mobile security solutions and 1 in 4 not aware of such solutions,making them vulnerable to different kinds of mobile attacks that may lead to misuse of personal and work information and substantial financial losses.
The Symantec survey
revealed that 72% of Indian businesses have faced mobility incidents in the past 12 months due to malware infections,spam incidents,exposures of information,breach of content due to lost/stolen devices and phishing/social engineering instances. Around 37% of Indian businesses have faced revenue loss due to mobility mishaps,with 1 in 3 businesses facing direct financial loss in the past 1 year. With such high risks involved 45% enterprises have ensured that mobile
devices that connect to the network have proper safeguards installed and 40% restrict
mobile device usage through HR enforcement,and 38% use technology controls to mitigate the risks.
Symantecs prescription for a secured mobile experience for consumers: Always password protect your mobile
devices with unique and strong passwords to prevent valuable information from being stolen. Also,avoid open and unsecured internet connections,such as free public Wi-Fi,as they increase the risk of you exposing your devices to online threats. In addition,avoid storing information and details on your mobile devices,which could be stolen by malicious apps and hackers.
Among other tips,always check alerts and suspicious notifications from unknown sources via emails,text messages and applications. These might contain links that download malware onto your mobile devices,or require you to submit your personal information. Lastly,install a mobile security solution and stay updated with the latest versions to keep your mobile devices safe from threats and fraud.
Businesses too should take a proactive approach and carefully plan an effective mobile implementation strategy. One of the best ways to get started is to implement apps that will have an immediate business impact. Also,learn from the
innovators and get the benefits while minimising risks. The key is to be aware of the risks associated with mobility such as information loss,and to follow the example of the innovators.
STATE OF SECURITY
* 68% Indians consider themselves to be addicted to their mobile phones
* 43% say that mobile phone is amongst the top two things they would save from a fire
* 69% of consumers access internet through their mobile devices
* 31% access work emails on their mobile devices
* 29% users do not maintain passwords on their mobile devices
* 72% of Indian businesses have faced mobility incidents in the past 12 months
* 37% of businesses have faced revenue loss due to mobility mishaps