Mobile security is about protecting devices (or endpoints) such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and those connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the data and information they handle. As these devices are increasingly used for their affordability, portability, and wireless internet access, they have become attractive targets for cyberattacks and data breaches.

This is how Juan Sebastián Estévez, IBM's Cybersecurity leader for Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Caribbean Region, begins to explain this topic, who also ensures that security focuses on addressing the risks associated with wireless Internet connectivity, as well as the new technological capabilities that need protection against threats, as each of these types of endpoints plays a specific role in the network, and has its own characteristics and security considerations.

José Abraham Méndez, country manager of Plintron Colombia (a company that provides cloud solutions for existing and virtual mobile operators and companies that wish to be mobile service providers), is a little more specific. Méndez says mobile security refers to measures and practices designed to protect mobile devices – such as smartphones and tablets – along with their data and applications, against security threats such as malware, cyber attacks and unauthorized access. This includes the implementation of data encryption techniques, strong authentication, remote device management and access control, among other aspects.

In mobile security, he explains, the end user does not require additional equipment or configurations to implement it, so this low dependency offers superior security.

On the other hand, “wireless security refers to protecting networks and devices that communicate wirelessly, via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, for example. This involves implementing security protocols such as data encryption (for example, WPA/WPA2/WPA3 keys for Wi-Fi networks), user authentication (passwords or digital certificates) and intrusion prevention (firewalls and intrusion detection systems). ”, he specifies.

Méndez adds that this is crucial to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the transmitted information and prevent unauthorized access to connected systems and devices. For him, these types of networks require, in most cases, more conscious intervention by end users to guarantee the indicated security measures.

The importance of having safe environments

According to Andrés Delgado, professor of Telecommunications Engineering at the San Mateo University Foundation, the security of mobile devices is of great relevance for aspects such as the protection of personal data and privacy, since phones, for example, usually contain a mine of personal information, such as contact details, photos, messages, financial data and even geolocation data. Without adequate security measures, all this information is vulnerable to theft or misuse, which can lead to identity theft, fraud or other forms of cybercrime.

It is also key to protecting financial transactions since, with the rise of mobile banking and shopping applications, a significant portion of financial transactions are now carried out through mobile devices.

“As technology evolves, so do mobile security threats and challenges. Luckily, there are also advances in security technologies that help mitigate these risks, such as biometric authentication, secure communication protocols (newer versions of wireless protocols, such as Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, incorporate encryption features and security), and security solutions for mobile devices,” highlights Delgado.

In this regard, Estévez from IBM clarifies that, when referring to mobile security, in some way we are also talking about security in general, because the strategic challenges we face are the same, regardless of the device that accesses it. to the data. Therein lies the key, he emphasizes, to using a secure device: both people and companies must analyze a series of issues that are not necessarily technical. For example: can the network I 'think' I'm connecting to be trusted? Are the devices used safely?

“Several studies estimate that up to 70% of successful data breaches suffered by companies originate from endpoints, that is, the devices that people use; and, according to the IBM study 'Cost of a Data Breach 2023', the average cost of a data breach that an organization in Latin America must assume is US$2.46 million. This is important because it reflects that we need to continue advancing cybersecurity education. In addition, it reinforces why companies must protect more endpoints and more types of endpoints than ever,” reveals the IBM Cybersecurity leader for Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Caribbean Region.

Technological developments in this line

The country manager of Plintron Colombia affirms that technology in the fields of mobile security and wireless security is constantly evolving to address emerging threats and improve the protection of systems and data. Among them, he cites multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires multiple forms of verification before accessing a system, while strengthening security by requiring a second authentication factor, such as unique codes or fingerprints, even if it is compromised. a password.

It also highlights container and application security, which protects business and personal data on mobile devices. Here, container technology creates secure environments to store and manage business applications and data without compromising privacy. Additionally, white label mobile and private APN service allows organizations to create a mobile network in which data transmitted between devices and the company's network is kept in a secure and private environment, out of the reach of unauthorized third parties. . These types of solutions are widely used by retail, fintech, banking, transportation and services companies.

Juan Sebastián Estévez notes that one of the most important developments in endpoint security is 5G, since this technology is generating an evolution (and 'revolution') in society and everything that surrounds it: ultra-speed capabilities, low latency and an increase in connected devices per square meter. “The results include an explosion of new experiences accelerated by new technologies and supported by key 5G capabilities. And just as we expect 5G technology to change the rules of the game in many industries, we must be prepared for it to also be a revolutionary technology for cybercriminals,” emphasizes the IBM executive.

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