Business users display the riskiest online behavior, with 79 percent of businessmen and 67 percent of businesswomen using potentially risky apps every day, according to an Allot Communications report.
The research, which analyzed mobile data records from a random sample of 500,000 mobile users over a seven-day period, found that although mobile app downloads are often protected, their ongoing use is not protected, making users vulnerable to malware threats.
"We were generally surprised with the level of potential risk specific profiles have when using apps, but the most concerning finding is the strong correlation between the level of app usage to the increasing level of risk," Yaniv Sulkes, senior vice president of marketing at Allot Communications, told eWEEK. "Since we live in a hyperconnected world in which people and things are becoming more and more connected, this finding means the level of risk is ever increasing—rising at a higher rate than the increase in usage."
Sulkes said businesses could start limiting the security exposure of employees on the go by taking three steps.
"First, put much more attention on safeguarding mobile usage. Maybe businesses, especially smaller ones, do not put emphasis on protecting mobile devices," he explained. "Second, since many businesses are lacking in security expertise, they should outsource their security and turn to managed security services, which can be typically provided by cloud or service providers."
Finally, Sulkes said businesses should have acceptable use policies in place, and enforce them—if possible—to ensure that employees are not taking unnecessary risks.
In addition, the report revealed that youth and Millennials are also at high risk, with 65 percent of them using potentially risky apps every day.
However, the study also determined that potential malware risk is affected both by the online behavior of the user and by the app or URL itself, indicating that it is not just the app, but how it is being used.
The report goes on to suggest that communication service providers (CSPs) are uniquely positioned to safeguard mobile users at risk with targeted security as a service delivered from their network or cloud.
"With the proliferation of mobile devices and things, we think effective mobile security can only be given from the cloud or the network in a centralized manner," Sulkes said. "This means most businesses will opt for cloud-based security going forward as the delivery model for endpoint protection. This would [provide] many integrated security functions, which would reside in the network or cloud and protect users on the go from different threats while being transparent and seamless from a user perspective."