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Growing awareness of mobile security risk

There is a growing awareness of mobile security risk among members of the information security community, but most admit accessing corporate data from personal devices or public Wi-Fi

More than half (52%) of RSA Conference 2019 attendees plan to increase their mobile security investment in the coming year, underscoring a growing awareness of mobile security risk, a survey shows.

However, 76% admitted accessing corporate data from personal mobile devices and/or the public Wi-Fi networks, according to the survey by mobile security software as a service (SaaS) provider Lookout.

Most commonly, respondents reported using their mobile devices to access corporate email (85%), messaging such as Slack (53%), and storage services such as Google Drive or Box (43%).

Mixing personal and public environments with corporate data can be a source of significant security risk and is responsible for the erosion of traditional network perimeter security, the survey report said.

Since critical data has moved to the cloud, employees are able to access it from any network, wherever they are in the world, the report notes.

“Mobility, SaaS and cloud computing are enabling users to access corporate data from any device and any location, rendering traditional perimeter security ineffective,” said Santosh Krishnan, chief product officer at Lookout.

“So it is not surprising that, in this post-perimeter era, an overwhelming majority of respondents have accessed corporate data from personal mobile devices or through public Wi-Fi networks, but this is concerning because attacks, like phishing, have evolved to take advantage of the fact that existing perimeter protections no longer have visibility into user traffic. Enterprises need to adopt a post-perimeter security architecture to secure access to their corporate data.”

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Increased investment in mobile security is also unsurprising in light of the fact one in 10 respondents reported their organisation has experienced a mobile cyber security incident or breach in the past 12 months.

According to the Verizon mobile security index 2019, however, one in three companies admitted they had suffered a compromise in which a mobile device played a role, representing an increase from 27% in the 2018 report to 33% a year later.

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