Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022: Remote work leads to rise in cybercrime

Main points:

  • Serious attacks are on the rise – 45 percent of companies surveyed have been attacked in the past 12 months, up 22 percent from last year
  • 79 percent of respondents agree that recent changes in the way they work have negatively impacted their organization’s cybersecurity
  • 52 percent of respondents say they have sacrificed the security of mobile devices, including IoT devices, to “get the job done” (e.g. meeting a deadline or goal)
  • 85 percent of the companies surveyed have a mobile security budget

Amsterdam – The traditional 9-to-5 working day in the office is a thing of the past. Instead, in today’s world of hybrid work, people are expected to be ‘always on’. With people working longer hours from a variety of locations and devices, businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. The Verizon Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2022 shows that the number of major cyber attacks involving a mobile/IoT device that resulted in data loss or system outages increased by 22% in the past year. With 85% of companies surveyed saying they have a budget for mobile device security, the need to use these resources to tackle cyber threats has never been greater.

“For companies – regardless of industry, size or geographical location – downtime is a waste of money. Losing data destroys trust and is difficult, if not impossible, to restore,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, CEO, Verizon Business. “Companies need to spend time and budget on their security architecture, especially when it comes to devices outside the office environment. Otherwise, they make themselves vulnerable to cybercriminals.”

Security teams face a tough job as the number of external devices and employees grows. 79% of respondents agree that recent changes in the way they work have had a negative impact on their organization’s cyber security. Given the increased threat, it would seem obvious that companies would tighten up their policies. However, the results point to the opposite. 85% say they allow or have no policy against using home WiFi and mobile networks/hotspots, and 68% allow or have no policy against using public WiFi.

Safety should be a top priority

People are clearly aware of the impact of a cyber attack: 64% of respondents say awareness of cyber risks will increase in the future. This is due in part to the fact that two-thirds (66%) of companies said they have historically been under pressure to sacrifice mobile device security “to get the job done”, with 52% under this pressure.

MSI describes four aspects of the mobile threat landscape: people and behavior, apps, network and cloud, and devices. It also provides expert insights into how to protect against cyber attacks, such as establishing a zero trust network access (ZTNA) model and a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture designed for a mobile-first and cloud-first world.

Impact in different sectors

MSI highlights the impact of cybercrime on mobile security across various business sectors. The main results are:

  • Companies: 23% of respondents have experienced compromised mobile security. Of these, 74% said it had a big impact and more than a third (34%) said it had lasting effects. In addition, four in five (81%) organizations said their spending on mobile device security has increased in the past year, and 76% believe they will continue to do so in the coming year.
  • Retail: Nearly nine in ten (88%) businesses are concerned that a mobile security breach could have a lasting impact on their brand or customer loyalty. However, 70% say the increased use of mobile devices is critical to staying relevant to consumers, while 41% say it’s a security challenge.
  • finance services: More than nine in ten (93%) executives believe that cybercriminals see their industry as a more lucrative target than other industries.
  • Healthcare: Nearly nine in ten (87%) healthcare organizations worry that the highly confidential nature of patient data makes them a target for cybercriminals. 85% say they are concerned that a security breach could jeopardize patient care. Conversely, three in four (76%) organizations agree that adopting remote care enables caregivers to improve patient care.
  • Production, construction and transport: Four in five (79%) organizations believe that a mobile cyberattack could disrupt their entire supply chain. Yet 76% of organizations agree that employee use of mobile services in the workplace is critical to productivity.
  • Public sector and education: Nearly nine in ten (87%) respondents say employee expectations for remote/flexible working are forcing them to rethink the way they work. In addition, 72% of respondents agree that the increased use of mobile services by public servants is essential for the digital transformation of public services.

Consumes vigilance

Just like in business, cybercriminals also target consumers. Unsolicited phone calls and spam messages pose a serious threat to mobile device owners, making vigilance and security measures even more important.

From May to June 2022 alone, Verizon identified or blocked 2.5 billion unwanted calls for customers using STIR/SHAKEN, Call Filter and additional tools. So far, more than 26.5 billion spam conversations have been detected. Every day, Verizon blocks tens of thousands of spam messages on behalf of customers and flags 1.2 million calls with [V] for verified calls and 85,000 fulfilled [SPAM?] for fake calls.

Verizon was the first service provider to provide fraudulent call data to the Industry Traceback Group (ITG) and the first to automate its participation—in most cases, ITM responded in less than a minute. Recently, Verizon was also the first service provider to provide ITM with fraud examples in multiple languages.

Collaborative solutions

With the spread of remote work, secure meetings have become a key business priority. BlueJeans by Verizon are designed with safety in mind. This solution protects customer and user security and privacy while providing a great way for video collaboration across all devices.

By protecting customer privacy and implementing standards-based security protocols in the BlueJeans platform, including SIP, SRTP, TLS and H.323, Verizon is proactively working on the security and privacy of video conferencing. In addition, the BlueJeans Trust Center is a symbol of Verizon’s commitment to responsible innovation and transparent communication so that organizations and end users across all industries can meet with trust.

About the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022

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

The Mobile Security Index provides unique insight into the current mobile threat landscape and what organizations are doing, or in many cases not doing, to protect their data and key systems. In addition to analysis from Verizon’s experts, the report includes insights and real-world data from leading security and management companies, including Absolute, Check Point, IBM, Ivanti, Jamf, Lookout, Netskope, Proofpoint and Thales.

The full Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022 and information on what Verizon is doing to help address cybersecurity risks is available here.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was founded on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City, the company is represented worldwide. With its global operations, Verizon generated revenue of $133.6 billion by 2021. The company offers voice, data and video services and solutions through its award-winning networks and platforms. In doing so, the company meets customer demand for mobility, reliable network connections, security and control.

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