Don’t Wait for a Mobile WannaCry

Enterprises worldwide are living dangerously, skating by with inadequate visibility and security into their mobile attack surface. While many organizations have adopted some level of management over the mobile devices connected to their systems, it’s not the same as mobile security and leaves them unprepared for a growing threat. Attacks against mobile phones and tablets continue to increase, and chances are good that a devastating WannaCry-level attack is just over the horizon.

The WannaCry ransomware attack caught the world unaware in 2017, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries worldwide. And it could have been worse had a British security research group not discovered a kill switch that stopped it from spreading within hours of the attack. But its impact was substantial nevertheless, crippling systems, causing several car manufacturers to stop production, and even forcing some hospitals in the UK to turn away patients. Damage was estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

By heeding the lessons of that attack, enterprises can now work to avoid a “mobile WannaCry” before it hits, rather than dealing with the damage after the fact. A mobile-based attack of that scale is possible, and its impact could be far worse because of the ubiquity and utility of mobile phones, along with the fact that almost everyone’s device is vulnerable. As a US House Intelligence Committee recently heard, mobile spyware has even infected the phones
of US diplomats worldwide.

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