Smartphone Hacks Reach Record High In 2016

As technology evolves so do the criminals and capabilities to hack or breach devices used in the enterprise. A new Nokia Threat Intelligence Report was released as Q1 2017 came to a close, and detailed how smartphones were not only hacked or scammed at a record rate, but lead the way in terms of devices that suffered vulnerabilities.

As both bring your own device (BYOD) and corporately owned, personally enabled (COPE) platforms enhance enterprise mobility each year, smartphones become inherently more susceptible to threats, opening the floodgates to a company’s data.

According to the report, smartphones accounted for 85% of mobile infections, making them far and away the single largest threat vector in comparison to other devices such as laptops, tablets, and wearables.


“Mobile IoT devices were compromised by the Mirai botnet and participated in the massive Mirai DDos attacks in September and October,” the report stated. “This Mirai incident illustrates how vulnerable the Internet of Things can be, and demonstrates that additional security requirements are necessary to protect it from attacks and exploitation. Measures must be put in place to ensure it is security managed, has secure communications and is monitored for future breaches.”

Nokia also broke down the malware infections by device, with Android OS the most susceptible to hacks by an overwhelming majority. While Android dominates the global OS market, being distributed across 24,000 unique device types, it accounted for 81% of 2016’s malware infections. Windows-based devices – from phones to laptops – accounted for 15% of malware infections, and Apple’s iOS and other systems fell victim four-percent of the time.

Last August, Apple’s inherently secure iPhone iOS 9 software nearly became a global victim when a phishing scam landed in the text message inbox of a Middle Eastern humanitarian’s device. The potential scam would have created a new threat that would have used the device’s camera and recording capabilities to spy on what was happening in the immediate vicinity. Apple released an upgrade to its iOS and shut out the security issue in a matter of days.

As the year went on, threats grew, and reached a record number in October when 1.35% of devices were being hit by successful malware infections. The second half of the year was up 63% over the first half of the year, the report said.

Mobile security in the enterprise has become a clear priority, and will be the topic of discussion at the Enterprise Mobility Exchange: Security West event being held in Phoenix, Arizona on April 24 and 25, where dozens of c-level IT executives and heads of mobility and security will gather to network, benchmark, and learn from chosen keynote speakers. To find out more about the event, visit the website here.