Higher security required for smartphones in the GCC

With limited security settings, cyber-criminals are targeting potentially valuable data on smartphones, says Wileyfox

As GCC smartphone owners increasingly use their mobile devices to store and access sensitive personal, financial and business data, as well as make online payments, security settings must be carefully evaluated, warns UK smartphone manufacturer Wileyfox.

Data breaches

Research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International indicates that while GCC businesses are increasingly adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to promote more flexible working conditions and improve employee satisfactions rates, almost 20 percent of business owners say that loss of employee devices account for the largest source of data breach. IT experts at Bit9+Carbon Black estimate that the average cost of data breaches is $5.4 million (Dh19.8 million).

Sensitive information

Smartphone users are also entering sensitive banking information into their devices as they increasingly use their mobile phones for banking and online shopping. With approximately 57 per cent of online purchases made using a smartphone, a PayPal-Ipsos report released earlier this year ranks the UAE as the second-strongest mobile commerce market in the world. This is only surpassed by China with 68 per cent online purchases made via smartphones.
This is good news for cybercriminals too as they are increasingly targeting mobile devices to obtain potentially valuable information. A recent study conducted by Norton and Symantec found that around 38 per cent of smartphone users were victims of cyberattacks in 2013 through scam applications, mobile ransomware, spyware and intercepting mobile transactions.
“GCC smartphone users store large volumes of sensitive data on their mobile devices by accessing work files, mobile banking, mobile shopping, or saving personal photographs and messages,”  says Nitin Sood, Managing Director of Wileyfox, MEA. “Cybercriminals are aware that smartphones often have limited security measures compared to other devices, making it crucial that strict security measures are implemented on smartphones.
“Having observed global trends, Wileyfox has strategically partnered with software partner Cyanogen to offer customers more advanced security and privacy settings to safeguard personal data. This will allow our customers to work and play on their smartphones with more confidence.”