The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region’s consumer Internet traffic is set to reach 31 per cent by 2017, from only 10 per cent in 2012, said an expert.
The region’s demand for smarter mobile devices and multimedia content delivered on the go is causing telecom operator to battle tremendous growth in mobile traffic on their networks, he said.
In supporting these demands while simultaneously building towards a sustainable revenue stream, telecom operators face the challenge of maintaining the availability and performance of their mobile network and services which enhance their customers’ quality of experience.
Mahmoud Samy, area head, Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan at Arbor Networks, said failure to do so can result in service level agreement credits, damage to brand reputation and customer churn – all of which impact the top and bottom lines of their business.
“With mobile number portability now an option available to subscribers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other countries in the region, poor service can well mean a change of operator.”
A global survey has shown that the MEA region accounts for 13 per cent of app usage, which is large figure given that North America, typically considered to be a leading smartphone market, only narrowly surpasses this figure at 17 per cent.
With the advent of wireless access to the Internet from mobile devices, attackers now have a huge open-door opportunity to initiate attacks, said Samy.
With the growth in app stores and mobile applications- many of which do not have any security oversight or control- compromised devices such as smartphones, tablets, M2M, laptops and 3G dongles connected to mobile networks are capable of hosting botnets and launching DDoS attacks from the wireless side of the mobile network.
The challenge raised by mobile apps is further complicated as not all threats to mobile networks and service performance and availability are malicious in nature. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have little to no control over which mobile apps their subscribers install and use.
Many mobile apps do not take into account that they communicate over networks that operate differently from traditional fixed-line IP networks – especially during recovery scenarios, which can cause major problems when popular mobile apps undergo maintenance or encounter issues.
The evidence of both malicious and non-malicious threats to MNOs is included in Arbor Networks’ eighth annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR), which is based on survey data from 130 network operators and service providers around the world.
The majority of operators who suffered non-malicious incidents relating to poorly-behaving applications took a reactionary stance toward detection and mitigation, with over 30 per cent indicating that they had to perform a reactive analysis of the problem, said the report.
The WISR data highlighted that with the growing threat to mobile networks, there is a need for policies to change as there is more than enough evidence that these threats are occurring and impacting mobile networks.