Yes, it’s unfortunate, but it’s often been said that there are two types of cybercrime victims – those who have fallen prey to the wily ways of cyber criminals, and those who haven’t… yet.
Instant messaging, mobile apps, social media, and smart devices are all designed to enhance our daily lives, and simplify routine tasks. These devices offer convenient digital services that are deeply integrated into every aspect of life.
But the many benefits come at a significant price. Our increased reliance on tech brings new risks and potential threats, making each of us more vulnerable than ever. For Communications Service Providers (CSPs), keeping the cyber criminals out of the network, is a constantly growing challenge.
How many people are affected by cybercrimes?
From the consumer’s perspective, cybersecurity is also a big issue. According to Norton Research, in 2017, hackers stole $172 billion from innocent consumers. In the United States, victims of cybercrime numbered 143 million, which represents more than half the adult online population. As technology speeds forward, more and more people become defenseless and easy prey for online fraudsters, cyber scam artists, and identity thieves.
Bank accounts, personal credentials, confidential and sensitive information are all deemed as the “bullseye” for many cyber attacks. But what should consumers do, and what can CSPs do?
Is endpoint security software good enough?
Cybersecurity experts recommend that people install and regularly update antivirus software and apps. All computers and connected devices should have some form of protection software.
Today’s antivirus programs have expanded to cover various types of malware – they can protect against advanced cyberthreats, such as ransomware, spyware, spam, phishing attacks, and adware. They can even protect your device against cryptojacking, a particularly malicious form of malware which hijacks processing resources, slows down performance, uses up bandwidth, and drains mobile batteries.
Many CSPs have tried to provide security software and apps to customers. But success in implementing this ring of security has been very limited. CSPs typically rebrand a standard app, promote the service, and then implore subscribers to download, activate, and pay for the application.
The lack of success for the app-based model stems from several factors:
- Customer motivation: Customers must be motivated to download, install and then buy an app/subscription – this has proven to be a very difficult task. The typical penetration rate that CSPs have achieved in the past pushing for 3rd party security apps has been around 3-5%.
- Perceived impact on device performance: CSPs have tried to overcome the download and install issue by preloading security apps into CSP-provided devices. Many mobile customers see this intrusion as bloatware. In addition, and more importantly, there is still considerable friction in motivating customers to activate and pay for pre-installed apps and to overcome the perception that a security app will impair phone performance and battery life.
- Marketing the software: Marketing an app is significantly different from marketing a service. The core business of a CSP is to sell services based either directly on their network or derived from the networking expertise that they have developed. App sales are often one-off and typically not aligned with a CSP’s core competence. End-point applications for iOS are rare and limited in their functionality and that by itself significantly limits the deployment of end-points in some big markets.
Until now many CSPs have tried to resell mobile security apps as the main ring of security against consumer cyber threats. The bottom line is that the efforts required to motivate customers to install, activate and pay for an app-based service have not been successful for mass market deployment.
In the world of cyber security value-added services, there is, however, another emerging alternative, which is better suited for mass-market deployment and offers a higher rate of success.
Stopping cybercrime at the network level
A network-based approach to security has proven to be remarkably effective. This success can be clearly measured in terms of service penetration rates, customer satisfaction, revenue generation and significant differentiation of the CSP’s brand.
Network-based security stops threats at the network level, far from the end-user’s smartphone and other connected devices. As opposed to end-point security, network-based cyber security analyzes user traffic as it moves through the service providers’ network. This network approach allows CSPs to provision cyber security services to the mass-market with ease without any dependency on the type of operating system (Android/iOS) and to offer an effortless non-intrusive service to the customer.
CSPs are best positioned to leverage this Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) solution by adding secured broadband packages to their consumer offering. As the providers of Internet access, they already have the trust and buy-in from their subscriber base.
How Allot Secure can help
Allot is the leader in network-based cybersecurity solutions for mass market mobile and fixed networks. We enable service providers like Vodafone; Telefonica and Hutchison Drei to offer effective ways to help them protect their subscribers against cyber crime. Allot uses in-line traffic inspection that cannot be bypassed and is not affected by DNS encryption (DNS over HTTPS).
Deploying network-based security transforms the network into a secure network for your customers. This is not a trivial distinction as it is aligned with your core business of delivering quality data services. By providing this network-based security to customers, CSPs have a valuable opportunity to be trend setters instead of followers, by championing cybersecurity and rolling out SECaaS packages to protect their customers.
Never mind which phones are out there, CSPs can use network-based security to easily protect any device on the network, without having to rely on end-users to perform downloads or regular updates.
A threat is an opportunity
No matter what happens in the world, people will continue their online activities. With 5G just around the corner for many markets, not only will those activities grow; Cyber criminals will take advantage of that growth and find new ways to threaten your network and your customers’ lives.
This creates an opportunity for service providers to expand their service portfolio, make a real difference in the level of their customers’ well-being, and increase ARPU.
If you want to learn more about protecting your customers using network-based solutions, contact us today.