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Euro 2016 breaches prove mobile security should be a priority ahead of Olympics

Second major sporting event of the summer means businesses need to take extra steps to keep data safe

A recent study has revealed an increase in the number of malicious websites being accessed by smartphones over the course of the Euro 2016 football tournament. With the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Brazil in just a few weeks’ time, businesses need to give serious consideration to mobile security in order to safeguard their data, and with it, their reputations.

According to the research, mobile-focused cyber criminals have been actively targeting smartphone users in Euro 2016 host nation France, with 72 per cent of malicious websites and 41 per cent of exposed passwords being detected on mobile devices in that country. These figures indicate a serious need for businesses to wise up and think seriously about protecting both customer and company data, as another major sporting event approaches.

This research has exposed some serious issues with regard to mobile security: criminals are seeing such a large-scale event as a chance to take advantage of tourists accessing information, by tricking people into being trapped by malicious websites.

With the Olympics in Brazil beginning next month, this problem will return with a vengeance if something is not done urgently to address it.

In addition to these problems, the official UEFA Euro 2016 Fan Guide app has also been found to be transferring usernames, passwords, addresses and phone numbers to an online UEFA store website over an insecure connection, affecting both iOS and Android versions of the app. This is indicative of a lax approach to mobile security amongst many businesses.

The fact that the tournament’s official fan app has glaring security flaws is a worrying sign, and something that providers of official and unofficial apps for the Olympics should take into account.

What both individuals and businesses need to realise is that weak mobile security affects everyone, whether it is a customer who has had their personal data stolen, or a business that has confidential company data compromised because an employee uses their work mobile device to access malicious websites. Not only can this cause a short-term data crisis, the long-term impact on an organisation’s reputation can be severe.

To help safeguard sensitive data both during and after major events, companies must take steps to implement software that can make apps and data stores safe from external attacks.

Promoting safe browsing is essential, but there’s no way an organisation can monitor the activity of every customer or employee. Instead, app providers and companies should shore up their security by implementing readily available software that focuses on proactively defending the apps themselves, rather than reactively trying to address data breaches as and when they happen.

Major sporting events provide fantastic opportunities for companies to boost their business. However, the last thing you want as an organisation is the financial and reputational fallout of a large-scale data breach. The cyber criminals are circling: businesses need to learn from the issues of Euro 2016, and learn fast.

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