HomeSmart BuildingsCybersecurityShift to remote work leads to rise in cybercrime

Shift to remote work leads to rise in cybercrime

The shift to hybrid and remote work following the COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot more flexibility for workers who previously had reported to their office five days a week. Unfortunately, this trend has also helped create something else: a rise in cyberattacks on mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Verizon Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2022, based on an independent survey of 632 professionals responsible for security strategy, policy, and management, recently revealed that there was a 22 percent year-over-year increase in major cyberattacks that involved either an IoT or mobile device and resulted in system downtime. More than 85 percent of the companies surveyed said they now have a budget dedicated to mobile security—a sign that it has become increasingly more critical to spend money on cyberthreat mitigation.

“For businesses – regardless of industry, size, or location on a map – downtime is money lost,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, CEO, Verizon Business.  “Compromised data is trust lost, and those moments, although not insurmountable, are tough to rebound from. Companies need to dedicate time and budget on their security architecture, especially when it comes to off-premises devices: otherwise, they are leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber-threat actors.”

Minimizing cyber threats will become more challenging for security teams as the number of mobile devices and remote workers increases. In fact, 79 percent of MSI respondents said the recent changes to working practices have impacted their companies’ cybersecurity. Adding to the challenge for security teams is the fact that a majority of the survey respondents have not changed their policies, despite the threats. Approximately 85 percent of respondents said that home Wi-Fi and cellular networks/hotspots are permitted. Meanwhile 68 percent said they allow or have no policy against using public Wi-Fi.

Security mitigation—Priority No. 1

 Although companies are not changing their mobile device and wireless policies, they are aware of cyberattacks and the damage they could do, according to the MSI. For example, 64 percent of respondents said that public awareness of cybersecurity risks will increase in the future. This belief partly comes from the fact that approximately 66 percent of companies said that at some point they had been pressured to sacrifice mobile-device security “to get the job done.” More than half (52 percent) succumbed to the pressure.

Cybercrime’s impact across business sectors

A number of business sectors have witnessed what a cyberattack can do to them, according to the MSI. For enterprise, 23 percent of respondents were victims of a mobile security compromise and of those, 74 percent said the impact of the mobile security compromise was major and more than a third (34%) said it had lasting repercussions.

Meanwhile, almost 90 percent of retail respondents said they were concerned that a mobile security breach could have a lasting impact on their brand or customer loyalty. However, 70 percent noted that increased mobile use was critical to staying relevant to their customers. Just 41 percent said additional mobile device use presented a daunting security challenge.

Financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, transportation, public sector and education were also among the industries that expressed concern about rising cybersecurity threats, according to MSI.

Customers are vulnerable, too

Cybercriminals are not just targeting businesses; they’re also putting unwanted calls and spam text messages to work to attack consumers. Verizon, using STIR/SHAKEN, Call Filter and other tools, identified and blocked 2.5 billion unwanted calls for wireless customers from May to June 2022 alone. The carrier has also detected more than 26.5 billion spam calls to date.

Verizon also became the first service provider to supply scam call data to the Industry Traceback Group (ITG) and the first to automate its participation – in most cases responding to ITG in less than a minute. Verizon was also the first service provider to submit foreign language scam examples to the ITG. The company’s latest collaboration, BlueJeans by Verizon, will work to protect customer and end-user security and privacy, while delivering a great video collaboration experience across devices.

Download the full Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022 here.

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