THE BLOG
04/01/2013 10:30 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2013

It's Trick or Treat in Cyberland...

By Rebecca Abrahams and Tom Malatesta

Each and every day in 2013 brings a new set of surprises to the hyper-connected population roaming the global cyberland. Mobile connectivity is exploding and smartphones and tablets are whetting the appetites of cyber criminals and the population of hacker world. Any device that has information stored on it is vulnerable as the fast-evolving technology for mobile phones makes it much easier for hackers to spread their mobile malware.

There are a plethora of security solutions on the market but the stubborn fact is that a high percentage of mobile phone users remain lackadaisical when it comes to preventing attacks on their devices. For example, McAfee has reported that about 36 percent of smartphone users do not use password protection. There are no silver bullets in the cyber security solutions goody bag and being lazy about fundamentals and sharing details of passwords makes for a field day of malicious hacks and network infiltrations. These days it seems like cyber crime is in the headlines on a daily basis.

Hacker communities are close to "state of the art" in miscreant behavior and professional programmers are behind many of the attention getting hacks. The HP Cyber Security Risk Report of 2012 finds that mobile phone vulnerabilities are growing dramatically. Mobile phone risks are more pronounced, state numerous entities around the globe, making the problem a persistent aggravation and more than a major concern for businesses and governments. One statistic has mobile malware jumping some 80 percent last year making it highly possible that all enterprise networks are in jeopardy. The largest target, the financial industry, receives hundreds if not thousands of threats on a daily basis. Feature rich mobile devices generate revenues for criminals. Stolen data brings huge financial rewards.

Cyber miscreants will continue attacking mobile phones in larger and larger numbers. Again, the motivation is simple. The information contained on storage devices easily converts to money making revenue for hackers. As network security continues to deteriorate, legacy systems will remain impossible to secure. Mobile is different from a security perspective. Microsoft Windows deployments have been in large demand in the business world and security solutions have largely been developed around this fact.

But mobile's operating systems are very different architectures from Windows. Architectures greatly impact the attack matrix. Today international behaviors breed mobile malware and any software running on a mobile device is an entry point for hackers. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a strategic development in the marketplace and like your computer, mobile devices will "always" be on the network. The virtual world requires new thinking of the security paradigm. With constant and rapid evolution in the mobile device space it is truly Trick or Treat each and every day.