Cybersecurity threats pose an increasing problem for mobile devices. Here’s everything you need to know about mobile security investing.
Over the last decade, the number of people using tablets and mobile devices over desktop computers has increased at a staggering rate — meaning people are spending more time on their handhelds than sitting in front of a computer to browse the web.
Because of this, cybersecurity risks on mobile devices are also on the rise. By 2025, Cybersecurity Ventures expects that Wi-Fi and mobile devices will amount to roughly 80 percent of IP traffic.
The firm also states that two major security threats for companies are employees being allowed to use their own devices for corporate matters and those devices having free apps installed, as these are often spying on users.
Despite the ability for malware to filter from mobile devices to a company’s cloud network or a server on company premises, protective company protocols are being adopted at a slow pace.
Only 9 percent of IT professionals see mobile threats as a major security risk, according to a 2019 security report by Check Point Software Technologies (NASDAQ:CHKP). The report further shows that 59 percent of IT professionals and organizations surveyed do not apply mobile threat defenses to their workplace security protocol.
With both an increase in our use of handheld devices and security threats to them over the next several years, here the Investing News Network provides a brief overview of mobile security investing.
What is mobile security?
To understand what mobile security investing is, you need to first understand mobile security.
Putting it simply, mobile security works the same as cybersecurity software does on our desktops. In other words, mobile security protects smartphones, tablets and other portable devices that connect to the internet from harmful threats.
That said, according to Norton, when a smartphone device gets hacked, it isn’t just tied to the phone; it can spread onto a desktop if the smartphone is backed up onto a computer.
The company identifies common mobile threats as the following:
- Madware and spyware: Madware is a script or a program installed onto a phone, often through downloading a free mobile app, that collects data for advertising purposes. Spyware is often linked to madware and collects internet usage, location and contact data to provide to a third party.
- Viruses and trojans: These are often linked to what you might think is a legitimate program or website. They can gain access to your device and the information you enter, including your banking information.
- Drive-by downloads: This is a method of installing malware without a user needing to consent to downloading files. Visiting a suspicious website or opening the wrong kind of email can open you up to a drive-by download, which automatically installs malware onto your device.
- Browser exploits: Browser exploits simply take advantage of known security flaws in your mobile internet browser, as well as programs such as Flash and PDF readers. Once breached, browser settings, homepages and search tools can be altered, among other things.
- Phishing apps: These apps are designed to look like legitimate apps, but are instead copies of popular apps with the goal of receiving information that users enter into forms.
So, how are these kinds of harmful attacks kept at bay?
Preventative measures range from: keeping software updated, internet security for mobile devices, firewall protection (yes — even for mobile devices), having a secure password on your phone and downloading apps from only the official app store for your particular mobile device.
Mobile security market outlook
Looking ahead to the future, we know that cybersecurity threats aren’t going away anytime soon.
According to Markets and Markets Research, the mobile app security market is poised to reach US$2.53 billion by 2020, and it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7 percent.
Fueling that growth, the report says, will be rising demand for security solutions that offer protection against web-based malware. The rising number of people using personal devices has also led to increased use of mobile application security, particularly in organizations and the workplace.
Adding to that, a Grandview Research report projects that the application security market will reach a staggering US$10.7 billion by 2025, with dynamic application security testing to ”significantly contribute” to that growth at over US$4 billion by 2025.
Ways to invest in mobile security
There are a number of public companies putting forth their best cybersecurity and mobile security efforts to tackle the issues at hand. Some companies for investment consideration include:
- Cyren (NASDAQ:CYRN): Cyren’s applications protect remote users on their mobile devices through cloud-based security services. In addition to inspecting inbound and outbound traffic, Cyren applies SSL security to mobile devices, which further protects customer data. Cyren’s services are applied by over 1.3 billion users globally.
- MobileIron (NASDAQ:MOBL): As the name suggests, MobileIron provides mobile information technology platforms to manage and secure mobile applications, content and devices. Its platform combines security and enterprise mobility management, as well as mobile device, application and content management capabilities.
- StrikeForce (OTCQB:SFOR): This company publishes MobileTrust, a security suite app, that has features that include keystroke, browser and database encryption. MobileTrust is also designed to protect transactions and passwords, and enhance user authentication.
- Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC): While not directly a mobile security company, Symantec is well known for its threat protection, information protection and cybersecurity services that stretch to mobile platforms as well.
- Trend Micro (OTC Pink:TMICY): Similar to Symantec, Trend Micro’s services and security software are for PCs and mobile devices. It also provides server, cloud and small-business security.
- VMware (NYSE:VMW): VMware is a data solutions company that also provides a wide range of security services under its networking and security product platform, including NSX, NSX Cloud, AppDefense and vRealize Network Insight.
- Zscaler (NASDAQ:ZS): Zscaler sends all mobile and app traffic to its security cloud, targeting any attacks or malicious content. Like Cyren, Zscaler applies SSL inspection for any hidden malware. Zscaler has the capacity to process over 60 billion transactions during busy periods.
In sum, there’s no ignoring cybersecurity and mobile security threats as the shift to handheld devices continues growing. However, there is also a growing number of companies that are keen to rise to the challenge of protecting individuals and businesses. Investors who want to get in on this trend have plenty of options to consider when building out their portfolios.
This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2018.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.