Loss & Fraud: World Economic Forum cites mobile attacks in its ‘Global Risks Report 2016’

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The World Economic Forum is calling for immediate attention to mobile cyberattack in its ‘Global Risks Report’ for 2016 — a recommendation that echoes the rapid adoption of new technologies in business and government agencies and the great need for equal interest in the associated risks and protections.

WEF explains:

“Although organizations may recognize the benefit of cyber technologies for their bottom lines, they may not be fully internalizing cyber security risks and making the appropriate level of investment to enhance operational risk management and strengthen organizational resilience. Particular attention is needed in two areas that are so far under-protected: mobile internet and machine-to-machine connections.”

Digital technologies and software are now significant considerations in budgeting and operations. Indeed, businesses of 2,500 employees or more will spend $2.3 million on IT hardware, software, and services, according to a report from Spiceworks, and 48% of IT pros at these companies anticipate an increase in this budget. Organizations — from businesses to entire countries — are quick to employ a piece of software if we believe it will help save money, improve a product, or shorten delivery times, but securing those technologies usually comes as an afterthought for CSOs and CIOs.

In the past, security technologies have been clunky in two ways: they haven’t been easy to implement from the IT side and they disrupt the flow of productivity for the end user. Cloud technologies, however, have helped to make security technology, particularly on mobile, lightweight and delightful for the employees or individuals whose devices need to be secured for the protection of the overall organization.

Fortunately while the need for security technology has significantly increased, the technology itself is getting better. Mobility is quickly taking over productivity in governments, enterprises, healthcare organizations, and more. In the U.S., Department of Defense CIO Terry Halvorsen listed money savings, recruiting, and increased employee productivity as reasons why one of the most highly security-minded organizations in the world needed to embrace mobility. This in mind, the data accessed on mobile devices is rapidly expanding: personal information, work emails, sensitive documents, and more.

Indeed, WEF remarks on the economic implications should enterprises not take cybersecurity seriously. Specifically addressing European industry, WEF notes that “ countries that do not react appropriately to technological change could lose 600 billion euros in value added over the next 10 years, corresponding to about 10% of Europe’s industrial base.”

The risk to consumers, as posited by WEF, extends beyond personal or corporate data loss, and into greater impact.

“The failure to understand and address risks related to technology, primarily the systemic cascading effects of cyber risks or the breakdown of critical information infrastructure, could have far-reaching consequences for national economies, economic sectors and global enterprises.”

WEF’s recognition of these risks is encouraging. The world is playing on a mobile stage, and world leaders or potential attackers are no longer underestimating how important mobile is in our everyday working lives. The potential problems associated with ignoring these devices are too high to leave mobility off the security budget sheet.

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