Malware Attacks on Mobile Operators Soar--Is the Enterprise Next?

Mobile operators say the end result of this mobile insecurity is lower customer satisfaction. Could the next wave of attacks be hitting enterprise users?

February 15, 2007

2 Min Read
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At the 3GSM show in Barcelona this week, security vendor McAfee revealed findings from recent research that shows mobile operators around the world are faced with a greater threat of attacks from cyber criminals, in spite of spending more on wireless security.

Results of a Web-based survey conducted from December 2006 through January 2007 also revealed that 83 percent of wireless providers have fallen prey to viruses or other malicious code infecting their systems. The research suggests these attacks are escalating both in terms of frequency and in the number of devices effected.Just less than 50 percent of the operators that have been hit by a breach reported a security incident within last three months. In Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, the number of breaches impacting more than 1,000 devices more than doubled over the previous year.

McAfee reports wireless operators are spending more time and money trying to defend their networks from malicious code and recover from infections. The study finds 100 percent more mobile operators invested over $200,000 on mobile security in 2006 compared with the previous year.

Survey respondents said the number of labor hours spent managing threats to their mobile infrastructure has increased by 700 percent to 1,000 hours. Just under 30 percent of surveyed operators said a drop in customer satisfaction was the most detrimental impact of these security problems.

Eighty-five percent of operators said they expect to continue to increase their spending on security to get a better handle on such threats as network intrusion, mobile viruses, denial of service attacks, spam and mobile phishing incidents.

Research respondents were invited to participate by e-mail invitation. Operators completed an anonymous Internet-based survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media, which was followed by a series of individual interviews to validate the results.

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