Since 2012, over 1 billion mobile devices have been activated worldwide, but according to consumer reports the mobile sector represents the weakest security link in information technology today.

What thieves want

While most people know how to secure their home computers, many don't know how to protect their mobile devices. That's created an opportunity for criminals. Over 1 billion records were breached last year alone, and 25 percent of all devices encounter a security threat each month.

“The number of threats from hackers goes up year over year,” says Dave Schuette, EVP and president of Enterprise Business for Synchronoss Technologies. “What hackers want to get to is less about mobile security and more about taking your identity.”

Enterprise solutions

For corporations, securing data and protecting the privacy of employees is a considerable challenge. Some issue company phones strictly for business use, but employees often prefer to BYOD (bring your own device) for greater convenience.

“Some financial services companies are very strict about people using their mobile phones, but then employees have little access to apps and productivity tools,” says Schuette. “Some don't worry as much, and employees can be more productive, but the problem is now they're open to malware or getting hacked. It can be very damaging to the organization. How can you be highly secure but let your people be highly productive?”

Basic protection

While Synchronoss Technologies works with Goldman Sachs, which has created its own mobile security capability, Schuette says even small business owners and individuals can make their online lives more secure. One place to start is user credentials. “On average, people have 26 accounts that require usernames and passwords. Half the time, people use five passwords or less. Once a hacker figures one out, they're after the other 25 accounts,” says Schuette.

“The best thing you can do is have a stronger credential; not a more complex password, but a second factor of authentication. Over the past 10 years, there were 5,000 successful attacks, and 82 percent exploited someone's weak password. Only two of them involved a second form of identification.” A second form of authentication can be a pin number, a one time password, QR code, Bio, Bluetooth or geo-based. “That significantly decreases hacking and phishing, and the cost to do it is nominal.”