Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cybersecurity in private and work life

The report of the week

The use of mobile applications is expanding to all sides of our life, as we use them to look for the address of a restaurant, to communicate with our friends or to buy something. Companies also use Apps to facilitate workers their daily tasks with invoices, and this has derived in the use of the personal mobiles for use so much personal as professional, which can carry serious security risks for the companies.

A new study made by F5 Networks on consumer behavior regarding mobile applications has revealed that more than a quarter of British (26%) do not check application security measures before downloading them. The study was conducted to 2,000 users and revealed that, regardless of the growing fears about cybercriminal activity, people continue to neglect online security measures. Only one in five respondents (21%) checks the security measures of each new application they download, while the type of application did affect in the user’s decision on checking it or not.

The applications we use every day, such as social networks or online stores, are the most worrisome to users, since they put all kinds of personal and financial data on them. Facebook is the most named with 48% of respondents, followed by eBay (named by 20% of respondents), Amazon with the 19% and WhatsApp with 18% of the total. In addition, when asked about which apps they think are the main target in the list of hackers, 58% were worried about Facebook... although, according to data published by Apple, the most used application in 2016 was Snapchat and only 7% of the British were worried that hackers were holding the platform in their sights, and 9% worried about Instagram, the fourth most used application last year.

Gad Elkin, the EMEA Security Director at F5 Networks, commented that growing concerns show that consumers are already more aware of security risks, although more education about it is still needed. He also talked about how the already thin line between professional and personal life is being blurred, so that more effective cybersecurity policies are needed. For example, 27% of IT and Telecommunications workers do not have to change their password at work, with an average of 10.7 weeks between password changes, only surpassed by the education sector, which changes their passwords every 12 weeks on average.

Previously we talked about the thin line between professional and personal life, which makes companies respond to the challenges posed through their security policies. The study cites that two-thirds of workers with access to computers (67%) need the IT team to approve whenever a new download is made on their devices. It is therefore surprising that only 13% are concerned about the lack of workplace safety controls, especially in companies specializing in the telecommunications industry (22%).

We did not want to finish without mentioning another study carried out by BPI Network, conducting a global survey among managers and workers, which revealed that 6 out of 10 respondents said that they or someone they know had accidentally sent a document that they did not should have sent. In addition, 89% of respondents believe that document security risks are growing in their organization due to increased connectivity and the proliferation of mobile devices.

It appears that in both studies it is clear that concern about the use of various devices is growing and that greater cybersecurity education would help companies reduce risks and save future security problems.

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