Why the mobile industry is being targeted by cyber criminals

Why the mobile industry is being targeted by cyber criminals

Following a number of data breaches at TalkTalk, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse Mobile decided to examine why the industry is being targeted so regularly

Numbers game

There are few industries that have the same level of active customer information that mobile companies do. The popularity in the UK of long term contracts means that network operators and retailers have built up massive catalogues of valuable customer data. The data stored on customers at mobile companies is often comprehensive too, with full contact details as well as payment information being stored. All of which makes them very tempting targets for cyber criminals.

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Less security

The industry is now realising at its peril that the level of security of mobile companies is not up to the same standards as other sectors. Sectors like financial services are just one example of where there is extra vigilance regarding potential attacks. These sectors have always had to deal with large quantities of valuable information and the threat of an attack, but that’s no excuse for the mobile industry. Cyber criminals saw a weak spot and have exploited it on a number of occasions. The industry will have to invest and tighten up on these areas. In particular as the public embarrassment of this looks set to run and run following the news that Parliament will be investigating the TalkTalk hack.

Knowledge gap

One of the most arresting findings from our recent survey on mobile security was that the industry really feels there is a knowledge gap surrounding the subject. One respondent summed it up when they said: ‘The issue is knowledge gaps, complexity brought on by too many variants of similar or same OS and speed of change in the industry.’ This absence of understanding is particularly worrying and was undoubtedly a factor that has led to these attacks. There needs to be a real effort now from the top of the industry to the bottom to raise awareness so it doesn’t happen again.

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