Trends and Threats in Mobile Security

Amanda Cupp
Photo of four people standing in a circle outside each using their smartphone.

Today there are more households with mobile devices than with desktop computers.

According to the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of US households have a median of two smartphones, while only 80 percent have a median rate of one desktop or laptop computer. In fact, 95 percent of American adults now use some sort of cell phone. For all the personal data that is being shared across mobile lines, there needs to be greater attention given to the threats of mobile security.

Scope of Security Threats to Mobile Users

Mobile use is only expected to increase due to the dependency on this type of technology. Already, mobile devices are used to access the internet for everything. The Pew Research Center states that 62 percent of users accessed information about their health conditions on a mobile device. In addition, 57 percent use mobile devices for online banking, while 18 percent have submitted a job application on their smartphone.

Everything from researching real estate listings to taking educational courses is accessible via a smartphone. All this activity leads to loads of big data being gathered across mobile channels. More pressing, this information is also compiled for every smartphone user. To access this data requires nothing more than spyware, botnets, dead apps, and ad and click fraud, as well as the Internet of Things.

With these malicious programs and seemingly innocent networking capabilities, fraudulent individuals can steal seemingly confidential information among corporate mobile networks. This information can either be sold or used to the disadvantage of the corporation, often by damaging the credibility of the enterprise due to a leak or loss of consumer data.

At-Risk Mobile Apps

One of the most prominent areas of mobile threats involves apps or applications that are downloaded, often for free, onto mobile devices. There are two types of apps that raise the risk of a security threat. First, secure and legitimate mobile apps for enterprise users request and store corporate data. This information is often transmitted to off-site storage facilities where the information can potentially be stolen or hacked into by cybercriminals.

Then there are the enterprise-signed apps that allow users to circumvent distribution capabilities. Using private APIs or enterprise app signing certificates, these apps allow for downloading without following proper protocol. As a result, the apps can take corporate data, such as enterprise network profiles or contact information, and distribute this to cybercriminals.

Malware and Spyware

In addition, cybersecurity threats that have long plagued desktop and laptop users have evolved with the mobile landscape. Cybercriminals use malware, which performs malicious actions from within the individual’s phone, and spyware, which collects personal data without the user’s knowledge. Malware and spyware are application-based threats, meaning these are often under the cover of an app that appears secure and trustworthy. Your government agency needs to be able to communicate without risk of interventions by these types of malicious apps.

Dependence on Mobile Communications

With all the concerns with mobile use, the fact remains that mobile communication is the easiest and most applicable to emergency situations. As nearly every adult in the US owns a cell phone or smartphone, this is the primary mode of communicating in a crisis, natural disaster, social upheaval, or other type of emergency. Any organization’s goal is to provide the most secure communication method available to protect the legitimacy and security of the audience at large.

Choosing Secure Mobile Crisis Communication Methods

When using mobile crisis communication methods for internal communication and public notification, the system you choose must provide the utmost security. Otherwise, your organization risks false statements and misguided information that could put the health and welfare of the public at risk. To increase the security of your mobile crisis communication, learn more about the best practices for a mobile strategy. Download this free OnSolve white paper detailing benefits and methods for better mobile networking in a crisis scenario.


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Best Practices When Using a Mobile Strategy for Crisis Communications

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