The Implications of International Tensions on Cybersecurity

As international tensions rise around the globe, experts in all areas of security are taking a closer look at data protection. While cybersecurity threats are an ever-present risk, increasing international tensions have led to the emergence of various other threats, including transnational terrorism and the use of chemical and other unconventional weapons.

The ensuing chaos from the increase in international tensions opens the doors for opportunistic hackers and cybercriminals to wreak havoc in vulnerable regions worldwide. Even in areas not in direct conflict, instability has presented challenges in keeping government and organizational data safe in increasingly at-risk environments.

Rising Overseas and Domestic Threats

The war in Ukraine, Chinese incursions into Taiwan, continuing Iranian-US tensions, and various other emerging potential issues have opened doors for all cyberattacks.

As recently as December 2022, the Center for Strategic and International Studies identified potential spyware hacks of US government employees, including diplomats in multiple countries. In the previous month, the CSIS identified 12 different incidents where the US, Ukrainian, Polish, Bahraini, Pakistani, and numerous other governments were targeted by cybercriminals.

Although many of the attacks reported by the CSIS come directly from foreign entities, data breaches can come from anywhere, and accessing confidential, vulnerable information can impact a country’s operations or wreak havoc on critical infrastructure. The number of nation-state cyber attacks against critical infrastructure has doubled in the past 12 months

In late 2022, the Danish State Railways’ network was temporarily shut down by hackers. However, in 2021, an even more powerful attack against the Colonial Pipeline cut off oil supplies to a large section of the eastern United States. While neither of these attacks appeared to be the work of hostile governments, as tensions rise, so does the potential for damage from similar breaches. 

When it comes to threats against intelligence data gathered by government agencies, the dangers can sometimes be exponentially more dangerous. While direct attacks against critical assets have immediate, tangible consequences, the sensitive nature of national intelligence data means that breaches can have cascading effects. Not only do intelligence data breaches potentially endanger the lives of operatives currently in foreign countries, but the revelation that intelligence operations are ongoing can also justify more direct actions. 

In some cases, information gathered and the methods by which it was acquired can have catastrophic effects on international relations. When tensions are already high, volatile data can be the final straw that dismantles international relations when compromised. Even friendly countries can find themselves at odds over foreign agencies’ methods of collecting data. Because of these factors, securing intelligence data takes on particular importance during times of rising international tensions, even if the countries in question are not directly in conflict with each other. 

Another genuine factor that makes securing intelligence data particularly critical is the potential for harm from compromised internal sources. Whether an operative leaks data themselves or is unintentionally compromised, it can devastate national security or national trust. Examples of these security compromises include the WikiLeaks release of 2010 and the reveal of the PRISM program. 

Challenges to the Private Sector

While the threats to government or infrastructure assets may be the most immediately apparent, data within the private sector can also see increased incidences of targeting during times of international tension or conflict. In addition to purely profit-motivated attacks like the Colonial Pipeline, governments may encourage hackers to after businesses in other countries. Hacking businesses internationally can be a strategic move to disrupt industry during wartime or destabilize other countries’ economies to their advantage. 

Additionally, the increased attacks can compromise sensitive information between the public sector and private contractors, as demonstrated by major security breaches at General Dynamics, Boeing, and Raytheon in the United States in recent years. By exposing private and public security vulnerabilities, international adversaries can access anything from personal information to blueprints for thermonuclear warheads. 

Responding to Threats with Truly Secure Data

With heightened global tensions, securing sensitive data in all sectors is more crucial than ever. Traditional “perimeter security,” which protects data by keeping outsiders from accessing a system, becomes increasingly inadequate in the face of motivated attacks. 

In many cases mentioned above, compromised passwords and user information were to blame for breaches. Even when attacks take on more sophisticated forms of cyberattacks — such as the DDoS attacks against the Italian and Finnish governments and several major US airports in 2022 — attempting to secure sensitive information with traditional perimeter security is inadequate.

Both conceptually and in practice, Zero Trust addresses data privacy’s greatest weaknesses. Rather than relying on a series of firewalls and assuming that users within a system have the right to access information stored on the server, Zero Trust security enables data files to protect themselves through independent verification. Through a Zero Trust security framework, users are continuously verified and authenticated — ensuring that data remains secure even if the system is compromised. 

Integrate a Zero Trust Architecture with Sertainty

Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into data files and datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that the data remains secure even if systems are compromised.

At Sertainty, we know that data is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing Self-Protecting Data solutions that evolve and grow to defend your crown jewels. Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable you to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss is moot. 

Securing Private and Intelligence Data

When it comes to information security, no sector can be overlooked. Both private sector and intelligence data gathered by government agencies require care in their handling, storage, and transmission. And while there are a number of universally-accepted best practices for maintaining data confidentiality, the unique nature of information relevant to national interest necessitates additional measures. 


Much of the work of information security is the result of policy and training, but tools like the Sertainty Data Privacy Platform also play a central role in securing data in both the public and private sectors. 

What Is Intelligence Data?

Generally, intelligence data refers to any data gathered by intelligence operatives or agencies. This data can be collected for a variety of purposes, from predicting and mitigating potential threats to informing government policy and even military operations. This can include information about people, finances, transportation, infrastructure, or any other data that may be of use in a particular scenario. 

Often, the identities of the agents gathering the data, as well as the methods used, are highly protected. This amplifies the need for airtight privacy, as each step of the process must remain strictly confidential, even from other agents within the organization. 

Similarities Between Private and Intelligence Data Security

At its core, data privacy is a universal concern. Any organization, whether public or private, that gathers information relies on a certain level of exclusivity in order to make that data useful. Not only is secure data vital to making informed decisions, but it can also provide a business edge over the competition. Likewise, in many industries, information security protocols are required in order to obtain (and maintain) the licenses and certifications needed to conduct business. 

When it comes to creating an organizational security policy in the modern world, there are a number of factors that need to be accounted for — whether you’re protecting private or intelligence data.

Defense-in-Depth Safeguards

The foundation of any organization’s security plan, regardless of its industry, can’t be one-dimensional. A defense-in-depth approach combines multiple levels of security protocols into a single, cohesive privacy plan. This can include elements such as firewalls, encrypted networks, security training, and any other layer of protection. 

Two-Factor Encryption

Another vital piece of the puzzle in a comprehensive security plan involves user authentication. Users may be familiar with the process of imputing a code received on a separate device, but two-factor authentication can include even more secure measures, such as physical access keys, biometric scans, and answering security questions. 

Remote Access Protocols

Unlike in the past, virtually all data storage networks need to be accessible to users outside of a specific office or closed LAN. This can apply to work-from-home employees and intelligence field operatives alike, and ensuring that only approved users can enter the system is vital. Furthermore, both of the above concepts around safeguards and encryption can and should play a role in how remote access protocols are designed. 

Special Considerations for Intelligence Data

The above represent some of the most common security measures, all of which can be found in many civilian applications. Others, however, are less common outside of high-sensitivity industries. 

There are two primary factors that make intelligence data different from other private information. For one, the potential implications of an intelligence data leak are far greater than those in any private company. Consequences can be felt on a national or even global level. This level of significance means that there is absolutely no room for mistakes of any kind. 

The second factor is the need for multi-level confidentiality. As we mentioned above, in addition to the data itself, the identities, locations, and methods by which it was obtained are often extremely sensitive. Due to the need for internal privacy, conventional perimeter security is often insufficient. 

Let’s take a look at some of the unique ways in which intelligence data can be protected, as well as examine the value of Zero-Trust security. 

Compartmentalization

Perhaps the most critical element of intelligence data security strategies involves keeping different sources and stores of information separate from each other. The reasons that compartmentalization is so important are twofold. Firstly, even if one data store is compromised, compartmentalization ensures that the breach is contained to that single, limited store. The other primary benefit is that users have less potential to interact with each other, allowing for an increased level of anonymity. 

Asymmetric Access

Rather than relying on a secured messenger application, sending sensitive communications in the intelligence world is often handled using asymmetric access. In these types of systems, two virtual keys are needed to receive messages: one public key, findable within a database, and one private key, accessible to only a specific designated user. Sending messages can be done using a public key, but each user’s private key is needed to open the messages intended for them.

Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities

In the most sensitive cases, extremely important data can only be accessed within the confines of a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF). To gain access to the information stored in these physical locations, users must be pre-screened and authorized, as well as pass through a series of checks and authentications. Once inside, they can access and discuss the information stored there but cannot send or receive any communications while they are in the facility. 

Zero-Trust with Sertainty

In virtually every area we’ve discussed, traditional network security falls short in a number of key areas. Insider threats, human error, and a number of other inevitable vulnerabilities can leave information of all kinds open to malicious actors. Unlike other technology platforms, which are fundamentally limited in their scope, Sertainty data protection is ideal for both intelligence data and private applications. 

Self-protecting data from Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure. 

Is Blockchain Really as Secure as it Seems?

For nearly a decade and a half, cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology that powers it have played an increasingly central role in cybersecurity and online privacy discussions. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been touted as truly anonymous ways of storing and spending money, and popular perception remains, which is that blockchain itself is “unhackable.” 

While the idea of digital currency or decentralized data is not a new one, functioning blockchains are still relatively new. The technology became viable in 2008 when a person (or group of people) using the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ introduced the first digital currency that addressed decentralization’s past issues by creating the first viable blockchain. Since then, various applications for blockchain technology have been developed, mostly due to its inherently incorruptible nature. 

How Does the Blockchain Work? 

Sometimes referred to as distributed ledger technology, a blockchain is a type of online database that maintains records in the form of “blocks” of information that are cataloged in chronological order. This creates a “chain” of data blocks, each representing an event in the history of the complete system. Each time a new transaction is completed, a new block is added, continuing the ledger of information. 

Blockchains come in two primary forms, public and private. In public chains, users from anywhere can join, becoming a part of the chain of nodes, sending and receiving transfers of data and currency that are then included in the chain. On the other hand,  private chains only allow users that have been granted permission to access transaction data. Both private and public chains can also be “permissionless” or “permission restricted,” depending on whether or not users within the network have the ability to validate transactions or merely utilize the existing nodes. 

It’s worth noting that blockchain technology can be used to send, receive, and track where files are sent. However, the actual data within the blocks remain private. The data itself is only accessible to the user(s) with the correct digital ‘keys.’ The databases where information shared using a blockchain is stored still have the same features and vulnerabilities, regardless of how securely that data may be shared.

A Reputation for Inherent Security

As we mentioned earlier, a common perception among those who use any form of blockchain technology is that this type of system is impenetrable. Like conventional digital ledgers, the record of events is intended to be permanent, with each block becoming unchangeable once it’s accepted into the chain. However, unlike traditional systems, blockchain data is stored across multiple nodes hosted in different locations. The wider the web of nodes spreads, the more fail-safes the system has. 

The result is a theoretically corruption-proof system. In theory, if a secure node (or nodes) were to be compromised, the rest of the blockchain would recognize the discrepancies and prevent false information from being accepted. 

Blockchain’s Limitations

While all of this makes large blockchains fundamentally more reliable than single-source records, no system is completely immune to threats. The dangers to the blockchain can come from users within a network or outside of it. These dangers must be considered before you put all of your faith into a system on reputation alone. 

51% and Sybil-Type Attacks

While the record of shared information is protected by the wide variety of verification data centers in the system, malicious actors can target the network itself. The two most obvious threats to blockchain networks come in for form of “51%” attacks and “Sybil-Type” attacks. 

During 51% of attacks, hackers attempt to generate enough data verification nodes to outnumber the number of legitimate nodes. If a single party can gain control of more than half of a blockchain’s nodes (hence the name), the information they present will be seen by the system as the ‘real’ record, and the previously existing, legitimate chain will be overruled.

Additionally, 51% of these attacks are only practical in smaller networks. Major blockchains, like Bitcoin, are far too vast for any one group to take control. Additionally, these attacks can be mitigated using a permission-restricted system so only verified users can create new nodes. 

Sybil-type attacks, so-called after a book of the same title, refer to an attack by users who attempt to create an overwhelming number of false transactions with false identities. These attacks flood the chain with unreliable information and overwhelm the system. Sybil-type attacks share some similarities with other blockchain threats, but they are easier to create in public chains. These attacks can be prevented if there is a high cost to create new accounts to discourage users from creating enough to disrupt the chain. 

Compromised User Accounts and Routing Attacks

Like with many digital systems, the greatest vulnerabilities of all come from the human component. While correctly moderated blockchains may be extremely resistant to intervention, users in the system are always vulnerable to phishing, RAT attacks, and other social engineering scams that jeopardize credentials and digital keys. 

Due to the impact of human error, data shared via the blockchain can be verified as coming from a legitimate source; however, there’s no guarantee of safety once it has reached its destination. Crypto wallets, private databases, and more can all still be breached by inside or outside actors.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Trustworthiness

If sending money over blockchain, users need to familiarize themselves with the crypto exchange. Although many tout the safety and security of the blockchain, using cryptocurrency for transactions isn’t safe as what was once alluded to. With the recent collapse of FTX and loss of $2 billion in user funds, businesses and individuals alike could be at the mercy of how these private organizations are handling both data and money. 

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty 

Regardless of the enhanced legitimacy of decentralized ledger systems, data breaches remain a significant concern for any conventionally-protected network. Utilizing a public or private blockchain can be one part of your data protection strategy. However, to guarantee that network breaches don’t leave you vulnerable, you must ensure that your data files are truly secure. 

Rather than rely on a series of firewalls and trust that those with access are legitimately allowed to be there, Zero Trust security gives data the ability to protect itself. Following this methodology, Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable our partners to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

Infosec and Communications Compliance: Uluro by Transformations, Inc.

While data security is central to any industry, there is no area in which it is more paramount than in the world of sensitive communications. Industries such as healthcare, banking, and insurance all depend on truly secure communications in order to remain in compliance with regulations around the private data that they handle. 

Uluro, a secure customer communications management (CCM) platform created by Transformations, Inc., is a prime example of how Sertainty zero-trust security technology enables truly safe communication within these critical spaces. 

The Role of Zero-Trust in Data Security Compliance

There are a number of reasons why information security protocols play such a vital role in communications spaces. While the need to protect the inherently sensitive data necessary for industries such as banking and healthcare is apparent, communications for each of these industries also carry unique sets of information security compliance requirements to operate legally. 

A whitepaper published on the subject of communications by Aspire Customer Communications Services sums up the critical nature of compliance succinctly: “Under the threat of hefty punitive fines and lasting reputational damage, enterprises are understandably motivated by a desire to comply with regulations governing the secure delivery of sensitive documents.”

One particularly consequential example of these compliance laws revolves around HIPAA. In the United States, all information related to individual health is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Compliance with HIPAA regulations is dictated by the US Department of Health and Human Services and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights. 

Any organization that collects, creates, or transmits protected health information electronically, is required to maintain HIPAA compliance at all times. HIPAA requirements impact not only the healthcare industry, but insurance agencies, employers, and educational institutions, among others. 

While the compliance requirements of HIPAA and other industry-specific regulations generally do not dictate any single method of ensuring communication security, one thing is clear: robust protection is required. Fortunately for those using Uluro solutions, Sertainty tools are the cornerstone of Uluro’s industry-leading communications platform. The preemptive, truly secure nature of Sertainty self-protecting data is ideally positioned to protect communications where information security is such a central concern. 

The Technology Powering Uluro and Smart Delivery 

Sertainty zero-trust security technology is central to the compliance empowered by Uluro. Uluro is a fully-realized, award-winning CCM platform that has utilized the Sertainty Data Privacy Platform to power its uSecure technology for over five years. The platform is one of two communications solutions created by Transformations, Inc. In addition to Uluro, Smart Delivery is the first secure communication delivery system to let users email data-sensitive documents with the protection of Sertainty UXP Technology.

Transformations Inc. makes it possible to compose highly regulated documents without exposing the raw data while under process. And now, with Smart Delivery, they’re disrupting inefficient communications standards with the ability to deliver those documents to the consumer digitally and ensure that the right person has opened them.

For organizations that produce and send sensitive data bound by regulations like HIPAA, Smart Delivery improves the customer experience by providing one-click instant access to documents and mitigates financial risk with a built-in comprehensive audit trail that includes DOD-level shredding on unauthorized attempts. 

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty 

While many technology platforms are fundamentally limited in their scope, Sertainty data protection technology is truly industry-agnostic, with the potential to upgrade or reimagine how data is stored and distributed. 

Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure. 

Communication is one of the many areas in which Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Zero trust security enables Sertainty partners such as Transformations, Inc. to lead the way with truly safe communications. 

Ignore These Rising Cybersecurity Threats at Your Peril

As computer systems become more complex and interconnected, the potential for devastating data breaches also grows. Industry leaders and security experts recognize that to stay safe, data protection systems need to be one step ahead of hackers constantly. With the rapid development of new technologies, keeping track of emerging cybersecurity threats is more challenging and vital than ever before. 

Whilst a hacker’s targets and methods constantly change, current trends point to the threats we’re most likely to face. Hence, we have identified four growing cybersecurity threats to be sensitive to in the coming year. 

Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

Some of the most potentially devastating and escalating new cybersecurity dangers are aimed at critical infrastructure systems and public works worldwide. In 2021, the Colonial Pipeline fell victim to a crippling ransomware attack. The hack infiltrated some of the pipeline’s digital systems, shutting it down for several days, which compelled President Biden to declare a state of emergency. This cyberattack was deemed a national security event due to the shutdown of pipelines moving oil from refineries to industrial markets. This shutdown affected consumers and airlines along the East Coast. 

Consequently, this cyberattack garnered substantial public attention due to a potential contagion effect. Attacks targeting public infrastructure will take out essential systems, such as hospitals, water facilities, electricity, and energy production, and are often referred to as “killware” for their ability to cause disruption leading to real-life deaths. 

Access to Crypto Wallets

While the blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies is often lauded as “incorruptible,” there are a number of very real emerging threats aimed at cryptocurrency users. While the blockchain is not particularly vulnerable to attacks due to its decentralized nature, Bitcoin private keys, associated addresses, and crypto wallets can all be compromised by malware, allowing hackers to deplete accounts. 

These malicious programs are often delivered using classic phishing scams. Emails containing attachments (such as a Word document) that can execute macros to run the programs are sent to unsuspecting users. Similarly, fake Amazon gift cards, another phishing favorite, are being rigged with Remote Access Trojan (RAT) programs that steal crypto wallet information by keylogging and taking screenshots of the victim’s computer. 

Threats to Linux Systems

Historically, users have considered the Linux operating system to be safer from cyberattacks than other operating systems. Hackers have generally left Linux users alone, but there has been a significant rise in attacks on Linux systems. Unlike Windows, which is a targeted OS system, Linux does not have the support or proper patching capabilities to provide its users with the confidence that incoming cyber threats will be countered or remediated. The knowledge basis regarding how to deal with cyber threats is almost non-existent. 

What will aggravate matters is the development of a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 11. This will make Linux systems vulnerable to Windows attacks and vice-versa. 

In addition to being less understood, threats to Linux systems can also target more vulnerable areas than other types of attacks. Because of its relatively specialized nature, Linux is often utilized on the “back end” of businesses. It is often used to manage critical business and IT processes, making breaches to these systems particularly worrying. 

For example, many Internet of Things (IoT) systems and devices run on the Linux infrastructure. IoT devices have become less niche and will play a vital role in economic growth. Furthermore, Linux environments often have valuable data like Secure Socket Shell (SSH) credentials, certificates, applications usernames, and passwords, and are in need of protection from adversarial activities. 

Widening Network Edges 

Even as most governments and companies move away from COVID-19 safety protocols, the number of people working remotely has been steadily increasing. While accessibility is generally a positive feature, remote work means that there are more devices and locations needing to access databases, increasing what is known as the “network edge.” Workers’ at-home devices are often more vulnerable to attack than those in an office, and hackers have been taking full advantage of these new doors into private networks. 

Likewise, “bring-your-own-device” policies further increase the network edge by opening networks to an even wider variety of devices. This creates new opportunities for hackers to gain entry to information by compromising employees’ personal computers and phones rather than resorting to attacking a company’s system directly. 

Managing Cybersecurity Threats with Sertainty

In the face of these (and other) emerging cybersecurity threats, securing sensitive data is more crucial than ever. Traditional “perimeter security,” wherein data is protected by keeping outsiders from accessing a system, becomes increasingly inadequate as connectivity increases. With information becoming ubiquitous and available to users anywhere, the process of granting access to approved parties becomes a difficult balance between security and convenience, often leaving numerous doors open to malicious actors. 

Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into data files and datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, the data remains secure.

At Sertainty, we know that data is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing Self-Protecting Data solutions that evolve and grow to defend your crown jewels. Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable you to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss is moot. 

How “Bring Your Own Device” Policies Are Feeding the Rise of Mobile Threats

Driven by the shift to remote and hybrid work models, more and more people are using their personal devices for work purposes. A vast majority of Americans own smartphones, and many use those phones to access internal company documents and databases. But while this may be a convenient habit, it also introduces complex security risks.

Sensitive data is at a greater risk than ever before, with high-profile breaches making headlines. Understanding the threats to workers’ personal IT assets is vital in today’s connected landscape. As the proliferation of devices opens up potential network vulnerabilities, innovative security has to stay one step ahead of evolving digital threats. 

The Shift to BYOD 

Over the last decade, companies have been moving toward “Bring Your Own Device” policies, encouraging employees to use their own devices for work tasks. The onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent shift towards remote working has only increased this trend. But why are employers so quick to embrace this approach?

In addition to lower equipment costs for companies, BYOD means that employees can spend less time training to use new systems and harness the increased productivity of more familiar devices. BYOD also involves less accountability for managing IT assets, which workers can take to and from home at will. But for all of the conveniences and seeming efficiency, adding unmonitored devices that may have varying levels of security measures presents numerous opportunities for data breaches. 

Growing Mobile Use Statistics

Mobile devices are more ubiquitous than ever before for both professional and personal use. According to Statista, more than 91% of the global population (7.26 billion people) owns a mobile phone. The agency also found that 83.4% of people own a smartphone. This is a considerable rise, up from just 49.4% in 2016. 

Now that the overwhelming majority of the world owns smartphones, people commonly use them for tasks that were previously relegated to desktops and laptops. An August 2022 study found that 41.6% of emails were opened on mobile, with desktop browser email accounting for only 16.2% of opened emails. With so much of our information being stored and exchanged on mobile devices, understanding the potential data risks is essential. 

Misconception: Mobile Operating Systems Are Less Vulnerable 

Contrary to what consumers may assume, mobile devices are no more secure than other computers. Recently, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a report highlighting the dangers present in mobile devices. The report cited the increase in threats specific to mobile phones and existing vulnerabilities in all operating systems. This report also points out that typical attacks leverage mobile devices’ portability and their similarities to PCs. The mistaken perception that mobile operating systems are fundamentally more protected is dangerous, allowing hackers to take advantage of users’ naivete to exploit holes in their device security.

The Rise in Attacks Targeting Mobile Platforms and Devices

Mobile devices have many unique features, some of which introduce unique vulnerabilities. As global smartphone users increase, so do cybersecurity dangers. Recent years have seen a number of growing threats to mobile users. Among these, one of the most prevalent threats is mobile app fraud. A prominent breach in 2020 saw hackers use a massive network of devices to drain millions of dollars from online bank accounts, and single emulators can spoof thousands of devices simultaneously. Cross-border fraud is another rising concern, with 60% of businesses in the US and UK reporting incidents of this fraud type in 2021. 

Account takeover (ATO) attacks present yet another serious data security threat. Countless data breaches have leaked user identity information over time, making it easy for malicious actors to steal credentials that open doors to sensitive information. ATO attacks are one of the fastest-rising threats currently facing organizations and consumers alike. 2021 saw a nearly 20% increase in data breaches compared to 2020. Combined with phishing, social engineering scams, and AI-assisted machine-learning hacks, compromised login credentials are creating deep concerns among data security experts. 

The Need for Truly Secure Data

Known threats are not the only danger. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2022 H1 report, approximately 40% of data breach notices issued in the first half of 2022 did not include the root cause of the compromise. The top cause of data breaches so far this year is “unknown” due to a lack of missing root cause identifiers. For the first time since the ITRC began tracking data breach causes, the majority are unknown. Patching all of the potential holes in a security perimeter is especially challenging when not all threats are easily identified. The only truly safe solution is data that protects itself at every stage and, crucially, when accessed through any gateway.

BYOD policies are opening your network to a multitude of devices, many of which you cannot track or control. And while basic security measures like employee training, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication are still essential, they lose their value as soon as a breach has occurred. That’s why it’s vital to partner these measures with self-governing data, which protects against perimeter breaches. 

Traditionally, organizational data has been hidden behind firewalls and is left vulnerable to those already inside the system. However, Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure.

At Sertainty, we know that data is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable our partners to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

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