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More than a fifth of cybersecurity teams ban the use of public WiFi

By Jessie Chiang
Wed 3 Aug 2022

Verizon’s fifth annual Mobile Security Index (MSI) report has revealed that 21% of cybersecurity teams ban the use of public WiFi.

The Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022 findings are based on an independent survey of 632 professionals responsible for security strategy, policy, and management. They also buy, manage, and secure mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices for their companies.

The report found a continued rise in significant cyberattacks in the last year involving a mobile/IoT device, up 22% year-over-year, that resulted in data or system downtime. Additionally, with 85% of companies surveyed stating that they now have a budget dedicated to mobile security, Verizon says there has never been a more pressing need to apply those funds to cyber threat mitigation.

Verizon Business CEO Sampath Sowmyanarayan says downtime is money lost for businesses regardless of industry, size or location on a map.

“Compromised data is trust lost, and those moments, although not insurmountable, are tough to rebound from,” he says.

“Companies need to dedicate time and budget on their security architecture, especially when it comes to off-premise devices: otherwise they are leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber threat actors.”

Security mitigation should be a top priority

Awareness of the impact of a cyberattack is clear, with 64% of respondents saying that public awareness of cybersecurity risks will increase in the future. This is partly attributable to nearly two-thirds (66%) of companies stating they had previously been pressured to sacrifice mobile-device security “to get the job done,” with 52% succumbing to that pressure.

Verizon says the MSI details four sectors of the mobile threat landscape: people and behaviours, apps, devices and things, and networks and the cloud. Additionally, it provides expert insights into how to help safeguard against pending cybercrime attacks, such as establishing a “zero trust network access” (ZTNA) model and a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, which are designed for a mobile-first and cloud-first world.

So what has been the impact across business sectors?

Enterprise: The report found that 23% of respondents suffered a mobile security compromise. Of those, 74% said the impact of the mobile security compromise was major and over a third (34%) said it had lasting repercussions. Furthermore, four out of five (81%) organizations said their mobile device security spending increased over the past year, and 76% believe it will also increase over the coming year.

Retail: Almost nine out of 10 (88%) businesses are concerned that a mobile security breach could impact their brand or customer loyalty. However, 70% said increased mobile use is essential to staying relevant to consumers, while 41% said this presented a daunting security challenge.

Financial Services: More than nine out of ten (93%) executives believe cybercriminals see their sector as a more lucrative target than other industries.

Healthcare: Nearly nine out of ten (87%) healthcare organizations are concerned that the highly confidential nature of patient data makes them a target for cybercriminals, and 85% say they are concerned that a security breach could compromise patient care. Conversely, three out of four (76%) organizations agree that adopting telehealth presents healthcare providers with an excellent opportunity to improve patient care.

Manufacturing, construction, and transportation: Four out of five (79%) believe a mobile security compromise could disrupt their entire supply chain, resulting in serious financial implications. However, 76% of organizations agree that adopting mobile-based services by shop floor workers is essential to improving productivity.

Public Sector and Education: Almost nine out of ten (87%) said that employee expectations for remote/flexible working is forcing them to re-evaluate how they operate. Another 72% of respondents agreed that the increased use of mobile-based services by public sector employees is essential to accelerating the digital transformation of public services.

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