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Little has had more impact on the way people and businesses communicate than the mobile phone. From its humble beginnings in the 1970s, to the introduction of the first smartphone in the 1990s and the launch of the iPhone in 2007, mobility has come a long way. By 2014, mobile internet use had overtaken desktop and mobile remains the preferred method of access for over 70% of users.

Mobility has become a way of life for both business and personal use. Whether we are checking emails, posting to our social accounts, chatting to our friends, working or gaming, the average user spends 3 hours 15mins on their mobile phone every day. The most active users are the millennials, who spend over 5 hours a day on their phones. So dependent have we become on our phones that there is even a name for the fear of losing mobile connectivity – Nomophobia.

Increasingly powerful handsets and ubiquitous access to next gen 4G and 5G networks has empowered users worldwide to work and play whenever and wherever they want. However, a mobile existence is not without its risks. With our entire lives accessible from our phones, we are potentially exposing a wide variety of personally identifiable, sensitive or confidential information to cybercriminals.

2020 saw more mobile app breaches or data leaks than any previous year. Applications as diverse as email, contact tracing, money transfers, social media, food delivery and ride hailing saw significant breaches. Banking especially has become a focus point as there are over 2 billion people (or 40% of the world’s adult population) using mobile banking apps according to Juniper Research.

Setting apps aside, mobile service providers have also been the target of hackers. Both T-Mobile and Vodafone announced major breach incidents at the beginning of the year, with the contact details and call records of millions of customers compromised.

Data leakage is just one of the myriad threats facing the mobile industry. The “always on” generation is exposed to unauthorized access attempts via wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, social engineering, mobile ad malware and more. And don’t forget human error. Old, unsecure devices, poor password or device security policies and lost or stolen devices are still a common cause for concern.

With such a diverse threat landscape, what can mobile handset manufacturers, service providers and application developers do to improve mobile security?

 

 

A mobile quantum revolution

With the arrival of 5G handsets and the miniaturization of quantum security technologies, we are now seeing the emergence of a new generation of secure mobile applications. In May 2020, IDQ and SK Telecom announced the first mobile implementation of the Quantis QRNG chip in the Samsung Galaxy A Quantum handset.  By July 2020, the chip was also featured in the new Vsmart Aris 5G smartphone.

A month later, SK Telecom announced the introduction of the first mobile banking app based on 5G quantum technologies. The IM Bank app enables customers to safely protect their personal information when transferring money or opening accounts using secure ID authentication. Finally, in December 2020, Standard Chartered Bank announced customers with the new Samsung Galaxy A Quantum handset would be able to benefit from the built-in QRNG chip, delivering the strongest possible levels of encryption and data protection.

As the world enters the quantum age, mobile communications are at the forefront of next generation data security. Best of all, users won’t need to wait to take advantage of quantum security as these smartphones are readily available and already in people’s pocket. Ease of integration means new applications are being brought to market faster than ever as security-conscious organizations leverage data security as a point of differentiation.

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities the emerging use of quantum technologies in mobile and IoT applications offer:

 

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