Mobile devices proved vulnerable during pandemic lockdowns

Opt-in to Cyber Safety. Multiple layers of protection for your devices, online privacy and more.

According to Verizon, nearly half of businesses sacrificed mobile device security best practices to “get the job done.”

Mobile device security

Image: anyaberkut, Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to the Verizon Business Mobile Security Index 2021, the massive shift to remote work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic left many businesses knowingly vulnerable to attacks from employees’ mobile devices. Of the more than 850 businesses surveyed for the report, 40% said mobile devices are their company’s biggest IT security threat, yet 45% still sacrificed the security of mobile devices to enhance useability, meeting business needs or meeting project deadlines or productivity targets. 

Nearly one-in-four (24%) said mobile device security was sacrificed in response to restrictions put in place by the pandemic. And most IT departments (75%) succumbed to pressure from the business to lower the bar on device security.

“While businesses focused their efforts elsewhere, cybercriminals saw a wealth of new opportunities to strike,” Sampath Sowmyanarayan, chief revenue officer, Verizon Business, said in a statement. “With the rise of the remote workforce and the spike in mobile device usage, the threat landscape changed, which for organizations, means there is a greater need to hone in on mobile security to protect themselves and those they serve.”

Fewer companies reported mobile compromise

Even with lax security overall however, fewer companies reported a mobile device related compromise in 2020 compared to 2019, the report said. 

“This is the fourth year that Verizon has published this report,” the report said. “And this time the percentage of companies that admitted to having suffered a mobile-related security compromise is the lowest we’ve seen—just 23%. But hold the Champagne. Nearly one-in-four companies suffering a mobile device attack is not cause for celebration.”

Companies may not yet know they were compromised, and hackers, constantly upping their game by…