BYOD Users Can’t Be Trusted [Report]

Juniper Networks, the network, data center and cloud provider, today released findings from its first-annual Trusted Mobility Index. The study reveals mobile technology adoption is outpacing confidence, and some variation is needed to create greater trust in mobility technology to reach its full potential for both individuals and businesses.

Juniper Networks conducted the survey in March 2012 across 4,037 mobile device users and IT decision-makers in the US, UK, Germany, China and Japan, looking at mobile security and reliability trends.

More Connected Devices and BYOD Trends

According to Juniper Networks’ survey, mobile users own an average of three internet connected devices. Nearly one in five, or 18 percent of users own five or more devices including tablets, e-readers, and portable video game systems.

This particular trend is supported by Millennial Media’s recent Mobile Intel Series: Finance report for 2011.  According to the Millennial report, finance mobile users have more smartphones than normal mobile users. Eighty percent of mobile finance users now use a smartphone, and 37 percent of mobile subscribers also own a tablet or e-reader.

The BYOD trend is creating new concerns for IT administrators.  Per Juniper Networks’ findings, nearly 41 percent, or half of the respondents are using their own connected devices at work without permission from their company.

Nearly 89 percent of mobile users use their mobile to access sensitive work information. In addition, 76 percent of users said they access critical data, such as online banking or personal medical information from their connected devices.

Levels of Trust in Mobility is Uncertain

Despite the growth of the connected devices, mobile users’ level of trust in dealing with mobile usage is uncertain. Just 15 percent of respondents show confidence in dealing with security issues in their mobile devices and services.

Network security (69 percent) and network reliability (45 percent) are two top most factors of trust for mobile users followed by device security (43 percent). Service providers ranked one (63 percent) when it comes to protect sensitive data of users. Device manufacturers (38 percent) and software security providers (34 percent) were placed in second and third position respectively.

One fifth of the mobile users trust security expert for advice on mobile security followed by service providers (14 percent), software security providers (13 percent) and device manufacturers (10 percent).

Mobile Security Threats Increasing

BYOD inclinations in work places are creating a complex management task for IT professionals. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of all IT leaders report that their company has experienced security threats due to company data being accessed by personal mobile devices.

Further, IT leaders reported personal devices are bringing security breaches (41 percent), security protocol breaches (37 percent) and malware (32 percent) to the network.

Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center has identified 8,608 new mobile malware samples in the first three months of 2012, a 30 percent increase of all known malware. During the same period, the total numbers of spyware samples were more than doubled.

Un-secure Wi-Fi connection is another reason for alarming threats in mobile devices. Almost 72 percent of users reported that they either connect to unsecure Wi-Fi networks or they have no idea about a secure and unsecure network.

“The mobile revolution is unleashing massive opportunities, but our research shows we are at a critical turning point,” said Nawaf Bitar, senior vice president, Security Business unit, Juniper Networks. “The speed and scale at which mobile innovations can have a positive impact on society will depend on the industry’s ability to address new security vulnerabilities before they undermine people’s sense of safety. We must act now to protect and preserve trust in mobility.”

Wi-Fi usage is on the rise. An earlier Mobile Audience Insights Report from JiWire found that nine out of 10 consumers choose public Wi-Fi instead of 3G/4G on smartphones, which would further increase the security threats if the public Wi-Fi network is not secured. Various security firms are already showing concern over certain mobile practices, including the use of Wi-Fi and mobile wallet trends.

As stated by Dan Hoffman, chief mobile security evangelist at Juniper Networks, building trust in mobility is just as important as building great networks and powerful applications. Creating a safer, more secure and trusted mobile experience requires a sustained, collective effort by mobile service providers, device manufacturers, software developers, networking companies and security experts.