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Society is currently in the midst of what many refer to as the Mobile Revolution. According to Portio Research, the number of mobile users in the world reached 6.5 billion in 2012. That means that about 92 percent of the world uses mobile devices. Not only has usage risen, but the time users spent engaged in mobile computing and using mobile applications has dramatically increased as well. The Mobile Revolution has made devices like smartphones and tablets vital to everyday life and has created an interconnected world. However, this new hyperconnectivity leaves mobile devices and the networks to which they are connected more vulnerable to cyberattacks than ever before.
“There are 5,768 malware attacks daily on Android-based systems.”
Areas of potential risk
People rely on their phones for many aspects of their day-to-day lives. There are apps for banking, shopping and even apps that store important personal data. Yet, with these added conveniences comes an increase in risk. In fact, CSO reported that there are 5,768 malware attacks daily on Android-based systems alone. According to the National Cybersecurity Institute’s e-book “Protecting Our Future,” “By some estimates, more than half of all mobile applications have significant security vulnerabilities such as corrupt code.”
Malware designed to infiltrate mobile devices through unsecured networks can install programs that will mine digital banking information. Likewise, phishing attempts through SMS messaging are created to extract data from mobile devices once the user engages in the call to action.
How does this affect the Mobile Revolution?
People trust major parts of their lives to their mobile devices. The speed and convenience of smartphones and tablets make them effective business tools, but they also play huge roles in our social lives. Pew Research Center reported that 7 percent of smartphone users rely entirely on their phones for Web access, meaning many of them receive news, pay bills and connect to the world solely through their mobile device. A benefit of the Mobile Revolution is the fact that mobile devices have the potential to make the world completely digitally interconnected. However, if mobile cybersecurity does not improve, it could hinder these benefits of the Mobile Revolution. Repeated breaches could create a distrust for mobile devices and slow user growth. Worse yet, people could turn back to stationary digital devices, setting technological progress and convenience back.
What is the solution?
Currently, there are few anti-malware programs for mobile devices, and what is available is inadequate to combat the latest cyberthreats. Cybersecurity efforts are focused mainly on PCs, laptop computers and larger device networks. There is a great need for individuals with the skills to develop new mobile device security programs. Mobile cybersecurity professionals will help ensure the progress of the Mobile Revolution by eliminating threats to mobile devices and developing stronger cyberdefenses for smartphones, tablets and other devices. Individuals trained in cybersecurity can also increase the effectiveness of the encryption used in mobile applications and create a safer digital environment.
The National Cybersecurity Institute offers training and certification in the field of cybersecurity. Visit the website to become part of the solution to mobile security and to find out more about a career in cybersecurity and information protection.