Insight by BlackBerry

Why mobility is the new frontier for rogue hackers

Paul Battaglia, the vice president of federal sales for BlackBerry, said agencies need extra layers of security to protect mobile devices and the data that resides on them.

Mobile Cybersecurity

Cyber teams have a major challenge ahead of them. They have to be alert as to whether some virus or threat exists on one application on a phone while simultaneously defending other ports into firewall.

Cybersecurity Solutions

Agencies are looking to connect right onto existing networks. This reduces the number of ports going into the firewall of an agency. Fewer ports means fewer opportunities for a hacker to get through.

There are two companion bills currently making their way through Congress that require agencies to take a mobile-first approach to services.

The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, known as the 21st Century IDEA Act, which Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced in their respective chambers of Congress.

Among the provisions in the bill is one to agencies to make public an online, mobile-friendly, digital service option for any in-person government transaction or paper-based process in a manner that decreases cost, increases digital conversion rates, and improves customer experience with in two years of the bill becoming law.

These bills build on the growing expectation and realization that agencies still are playing catch up with the private sector around mobile service options.

But it’s not just transactional services that need help. Agencies are increasingly using connected devices whether sensors on buildings to measure energy use or tablets in the field to collect data from citizens.

The Trump administration’s IT modernization effort hinges on moving services to the citizen and the using data to make better decisions.

All of these efforts also mean agencies need to understand the cyber risks that come with moving more applications and data to a mobile platform.

Paul Battaglia, the vice president of federal sales for BlackBerry, said mobility is the new frontier for rogue hackers and adversaries. As more devices get connected–Gartner estimates some 8 billion today and that number will increase by three times over the next four years—agencies need to focus more on securing mobile devices and data.

This is especially true as agencies particularly the Defense Department, face a higher number of attempts. DoD experiences more than 10 million breach attempts a year.

“Cyber teams have a major challenge ahead of them. They have to be alert as to whether some virus or threat exists on one application on a phone while simultaneously defending other ports into firewalls,” Battaglia said on the Innovation in Government show. “It’s a big job, it’s very daunting. But it is the new warfare. Future wars are going to be less about military hardware and more about knocking out information bases or capturing information.”

Battaglia said the good news is Congress and the administration recognize the challenges as agency chief information officers have more responsibilities and more authority over spending and cyber defenses.

And when you add mobility to the discussion, agencies need to become even more aware of potential attacks as nation states and adversaries are targeting phones.

“Recent data shows attacks on mobile devices is going up 20 percent a year,” he said. “So when we talk about vulnerabilities on these, there has to be extra layers, especially when we talk about national security.”

Battaglia said additional security needs to cut across both policy and technology areas.

“One thing the government has done over the years has accumulated several hundred different platforms to manage different devices. You may have a platform to manage your PCs on the network. You may have a mobile device management platform to manage your phones. It’s simply now the best policies come down to managing mobility the same way or in conjunction with managing all your other things on the network,” he said. “If you can consolidate these to make management easy without having to worry about updates or upgrades to software, and education and training this helps with our cyber defenses.”

He said BlackBerry is seeing several agencies consolidating the number of platforms they are using to get down to a single pane of glass to manage all the devices on their network.

“Agencies are looking to connect right onto existing networks,” he said. “This reduces the number of ports going into the firewall of an agency. Fewer ports means fewer opportunities for a hacker to get through.”

From a technology perspective, Battaglia said agencies need help ensuring employees are following the right policies when it comes to bringing devices on the network.

“There are very specific technologies now available to protect a phone. A container on the phone is a specialized area on the phone that is now a security apparatus to protect that phone from rogue intruders. It has deeper levels of encryption and is a bigger challenge for a rogue actor to get into it,” he said. “There is a powerful technology called digital rights management. This is being widely adopted and widely looked at now. This is a policy coupled with a technology that prevents the next Edward Snowden. What DRM does is protects our vital information contained on the phone. For example a vital document, we can put moat around that document and put specific policies around that document.”

 

About BlackBerry

BlackBerry® is a leading software and services company dedicated to securing the Enterprise of Things.

BlackBerry software provides the embedded intelligence to secure the Enterprise of Things so that the Internet of Things (IoT) can thrive. Our software platform, BlackBerry Secure, is a comprehensive mobile-native approach to security that addresses the entire enterprise from end point to end point.

With software and services from BlackBerry, enterprises in a range of industries – from healthcare, financial services to government — are empowered to:

  • Identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats.
  • Manage and secure a diverse and growing set of endpoints such as smartphones, tablets, wearables and laptops.
  • Protect files and IP by enabling users to securely access, share and collaborate.
  • Develop powerful applications, workflows and business processes.
  • Unify crisis communications within and between organizations.

BlackBerry holds 80+ security certifications and is listed in the top position in all six categories of Gartner’s high-security mobility management study. The company is ranked among the top 10 percent of all cybersecurity providers. All G7 governments and 15 of G20 are BlackBerry customers. BlackBerry Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) software is the most widely-deployed among Fortune 500 companies.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company was founded in 1984 and operates in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. For more information, visit www.BlackBerry.com.

 

Resources