The last few years have seen breaches of unprecedented scale as organizations like Sony and the government’s Office of Personnel Management have found themselves under threat — but the cyber-war of 2016 will take place on smartphones, suggests a new report from HP Enterprise.
“Mobile devices and apps are the way in which users access the internet and web services,” said HPE Security Products SVP Sue Barsamian in a phone interview with NBC News. “If you’re an attacker and you’re looking at places to go where people are likely to be participating in e-commerce, submitting personal information, that is a great category of apps to go after.”
The hacking landscape historically relies on vulnerabilities that have been lurking for a long time but are still effective — the most popular exploit of 2015 was a variant of Stuxnet developed over 5 years ago. Mobiles, however, provide a wealth of opportunity in the form of hastily submitted apps downloaded by millions of people who only occasionally download even critical updates.
“A lot of times these apps are rushed out and not required to pass a security scan or standard before they go out,” said Barsamian.
That’s not a big problem when Candy Crush has a score-tracking bug, but if it’s a banking or shopping app with a critical security oversight, it makes for a juicy target.