“Point Of Sale” intrusions like the one that hit Home Depot were by far the biggest issue in 2014. In that incident, computers that run the registers in the self-checkout isle were hacked by cybercriminals using a stolen vender login. With that they were able to inject their malware and steal more than 56 million credit cards. It’s clear that fighting cybercrime requires constant vigilance.
With all the focus on desktop and laptop hacking, mobile hacking seems like it might not be such an issue. It isn’t, for now. Malware affects only 0.3% of devices according to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report. Cyberattacks are relatively rare, and companies are probably better off focusing on securing their desk/laptop software. From Verizon’s report:
We are not saying that we can ignore mobile devices; far from it. Mobile devices have clearly demonstrated their ability to be vulnerable. What we are saying is that we know the threat actors are already using a variety of other methods to break into our systems, and we should prioritize our resources to focus on the methods that they’re using now.
Sounds reasonable enough, the market share for smartphones has to be small compared to computers, right?
Or maybe not. (Image created by University of Alabama at Birmingham Online MBA program)
Like the above excerpt says, 61% of 91% of adults in America (about 50% of the entire adult population) have smartphones at double the rate of PCs. With the introduction of mobile pay options like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, we can expect a sharp increase in mobile security incidents, especially on Google’s Android systems as they have the bulk of the malware vulnerabilities. If left unchecked, there could be a massive breach in the same vein of the ominously named Heartbleed, or the breaches we’ve seen from Bitcoin. Clearly, this is something that shouldn’t be put on the back burner.
Here’s a possible solution; maybe Verizon should have their own hacking competition that focuses on mobile platforms? It would help protect consumers by plugging some of the holes in the security. In the meantime, the best advice for mobile users is to stay updated. Outdated Operating Systems (OS) leave you vulnerable.
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