Youth, Apathy, And Salary Dictate Mobile Threats To Business

Mobile cyberattacks may not be a thing today, but a new study shows how vulnerable businesses are via user smartphones and tablets.

Hackers may not be going after mobile devices en masse just yet, but if and when they do, it will be way too easy, a new study shows.

A worldwide survey by Aruba Networks of more than 11,500 employees spanning 23 countries found some disheartening mindset and behavior trends in the business user space:  more than half of employees share work and personal devices regularly, nearly 20% don’t password-protect their mobile devices, 22% forgo security measures for easier device-sharing, and 56% say they would disobey their superiors if necessary to get work done via their devices.

"While you think users are doing the right thing, they are [instead] doing what they want to do," says Trent Fierro, senior product manager for Aruba, which published its findings yesterday. "Password-sharing and device-sharing is very common."

Even more alarming was that the financial services and technology sectors didn't fare well when it came to protecting data and their devices: nearly 40% of workers at financial institutions say they lost corporate data via misuse of a mobile device. High-tech workers are twice as likely to hand over their device password if IT asks for it, than users in the hospitality or education sectors.

And here's a data point to stir a little lively debate over dinner: men are 20% more likely to lose personal or client data via smartphone misuse, and 40% more likely to be identity theft victims, the study found.

Younger people are more likely to suffer identity theft and loss of data than those 55 and over, with the 25-34-year-old age bracket the most likely. The 55-and over set is half as likely to suffer ID theft or data loss.

Employees who make more than $60,000 a year are twice as much at risk of losing company data than those who make less than $18,000 via mobile misuse. "If you're going to target somebody, you'd have the potential to access better information" from a higher-paid employee, Fierro notes.