Whilst statistics might vary slightly from source to source, in the UK alone, well over 80% of the population owns a smartphone and the mobile internet penetration rate could be as high as 75%. So, there’s an awfully high number of people that own a smartphone and use said devices to access the internet. Many reports point to further increases in smart device usage over the course of the pandemic due to the restructured working conditions many of us have endured – working from home (WFH), remote working, working on the move etc.
What people often forget is that the shiny all-singing, all-dancing device in their pocket is also a highly capable surveillance device, boasting advanced sensory equipment (camera and microphone) and a wealth of tracking information. People just assume that their mobile device is secure and often use it with less care (from a security point of view) for things that they wouldn’t do on a laptop. To this end, we now have a vast industry that sets out to secure and empower productivity on the basis that people can work anywhere and often use their devices for both work and personal. Mobility and cloud technology have become essential with most people now working and managing their personal lives in a digital fashion.
To coin a saying from the world of Spiderman (slightly out of context) – with great power comes great responsibility. We now live in a world where the once humble communication device is now a very powerful tool that needs to be used responsibly in the face of those wishing to act in a nefarious way. Tablets and smartphones aren’t immune to cyberattacks and spyware doesn’t just target people in government organisations or large enterprises. With both Android and iOS devices so embedded in our daily lives, hackers can steal all kinds of sensitive data from these devices, ranging from sensitive personal information through to proprietary company data – remember those blurring lines between work and personal?
All of this leads nicely into a very clear example of how all of this can play out. Pegasus.