Mobile devices used by federal government workers are potentially at a higher risk of attack than those used by consumers, solely for the mere fact that they are public-sector employees, according to a report presented to Congress last week by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Cybercriminals targeting government workers' mobile devices view them as a potential channel to accessing back-end computer systems rich in data containing sensitive federal government information and private information on millions of Americans, according to the DHS.
While federal workers are at risk to many of the same cybersecurity threats that the average consumer faces, such as ransomware, banking fraud, and identity theft, some of the solutions to address the mobile security problem differ than that of consumers.
DHS recommends developing cooperative arrangements with mobile network operators to detect, defend, and respond to threats – and potentially extending the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate authority to achieve these objectives. The study also calls for more policy and procedural changes that recognize mobile security should be treated differently than desktop architecture security.
Some of DHS' recommendations are similar to those practiced by the private sector, such as adopting a mobile device security framework that uses existing standards and best practices, and including mobility in a continuous security diagnostics and mitigation program similar to that of network devices.
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