Mobile World Congress 2016 has given us a glimpse into the innovations that will hit our stores this year. From the looks of things we will get much more than just thinner handsets. Many phone manufacturers have flooded the event with gadgets and accessories that can be bundled with phones. These include virtual reality headsets, 360-degree cameras, and a digital assistant masquerading as an earpiece.
If we piece together the scenes at Mobile World Congress, we can build a picture of the hyper-connected world that previously existed only in our imaginations. Forecasts vary about the actual number of connected objects we will have by 2020, but it will be in the billions! As these connected devices become more embedded in our lives, we have to face the possible downsides of the technology—especially those looking to exploit it.
Unfortunately, more devices means more opportunity for hackers, and further security threats. In our most recent Mobile Threat Report, we detected in the last six months around 37 million mobile malware within app stores, while ransomware on mobile has increased by 155% in the past year. Consequently, the need for strong mobile security foundations has never been greater. This goes beyond solely using a PIN and password to protect our
devices and data.
But the threat doesn’t stop at the devices. With more devices come greater amounts of data. And how we support the vast volume of data that results from this proliferation of devices is something that has also been brought into focus during this Congress. From Facebook’s announcement of the Telecom Infra Project—an initiative to overhaul the network infrastructure to meet the world’s data demands ahead of the 5G rollout, to Intel’s collaborations with mobile network providers and hardware manufacturers—5G is truly the biggest topic in Barcelona.
5G is set to become the backbone for the Internet of Things, supporting 1,000 times the data volume of today, and it will usher us into the hyper-connected era. But for 5G to enable our connected lives, whether at work, rest, or play, it must be delivered on a foundation of trust.
Therefore, it is important we don’t get carried away by the buzz around the announcements at Mobile World Congress. First, we need to get the right security foundations in place before we are swept into a world in which we hand our lives over to a wearable.
We need to do more to put users in control of their devices and digital identities; companies have a responsibility to better enable this level of control. Only when that trusted mobile experience is in firmly in place can we can take advantage of a 5G world on a scale bigger than a showroom in Spain.
Raj Samani is VP, CTO for EMEA, Intel Security