With constant advancement in technology mobile device security have become an increasingly vital component of many organizations’ IT infrastructure. The surge of remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic makes these devices the most convenient choice for many employees.
However, regardless of how convenience mobile devices offer, they also tend to carry significant security risks. As they become “critical infrastructure” for organizations, mobile security is a major concern making organizations feel that their mobile devices are more vulnerable than their other endpoints, making loose ends open everywhere.
Reasons Why Mobile Device Security Is Important?
With Pandemic increasing the workload from the comfort of our homes, more than half of business PCs now mobile, portable devices present distinct challenges to network security, which must account for all of the locations and uses those employees require of the company network. Potential threats to devices include malicious mobile apps, phishing scams, data leakage, spyware, and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Major Factors Of Concern Related To – Mobile Device Security
With mobile device security becoming increasingly important, it has also received additional attention from cybercriminals. Resulting in increased diversity in cyber threats against these devices. The 5 major concerns are:
1. Malicious Websites and Apps
Just like any desktop or computer, mobile devices also have software and Internet access. Mobile malware and malicious websites can complete the same objectives on mobile phones as on traditional computers.
There are numerous ways Malicious apps come, as it has a variety of different forms. The most common types of malicious mobile apps are trojans that also perform ad and click scams.
2. Mobile Ransomware
This is a particular type of mobile malware, but the increased usage of mobile devices for business during the whole pandemic has made it a more common and damaging malware variant. Mobile ransomware encrypts files on a mobile device and then requires a ransom payment for the decryption key to restore access to the encrypted data.
This is one of the most common attack vectors in existence. Most cyberattacks begin with a phishing email that carries a malicious link or an attachment containing malware. On mobile devices, phishing attacks have a variety of media for delivering their links and malware, including email, SMS messaging, social media platforms, and other applications.
4. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks involve an attacker intercepting network communications to either eavesdrop on or modify the data being transmitted. While this type of attack may be possible on different systems, mobile devices are especially susceptible to MitM attacks. Unlike web traffic, which commonly uses encrypted HTTPS for communication, SMS messages can be easily intercepted, and mobile applications may use unencrypted HTTP for the transfer of potentially sensitive information.
5. Device and OS exploits
Often, the focus of cybersecurity is on top-layer software, but lower levels of the software stack can contain vulnerabilities and be attacked as well. With mobile devices – like computers – vulnerabilities in the mobile OS or the device itself can be exploited by an attacker. Often, these exploits are more damaging than higher-level ones because they exist below and outside the visibility of the device’s security solutions.
Solutions To Prevent Mobile Devices Security
To provide complete securing, mobile devices require a multi-layered approach and investment in enterprise solutions. While there are key elements to mobile device security, each organization needs to find what best fits its network.
Here are some mobile security best practices:
1. Clarity Among Policies And Processes
Mobile device rules are only as effective as a company’s ability to properly communicate those policies to employees. Mobile device security should include clear rules about:
• What devices can be used
• Allowed OS levels
• What the company can and cannot access on a personal phone
• Whether IT can remote wipe a device
• Password requirements and frequency for updating passwords
2. Password Protection
One of the most basic ways to prevent unauthorized access to a mobile device is to create a strong password, and yet weak passwords are still a persistent problem that contributes to the majority of data hacks. Another common security problem is workers using the same password for their mobile device, email, and every work-related account. It is critical that employees create strong, unique passwords (of at least eight characters) and create different passwords for different accounts.
Instead of relying on traditional methods of mobile access security, such as passwords, some companies are looking to biometrics as a safer alternative. Biometric authentication is when a computer uses measurable biological characteristics, such as the face, fingerprint, voice, or iris recognition for identification and access. Multiple biometric authentication methods are now available on smartphones and are easy for workers to set up and use.
4. Avoid Public Wi-fi
A mobile device is only as secure as the network through which it transmits data. Companies need to educate employees about the dangers of using public Wi-Fi networks, which are vulnerable to attacks from hackers who can easily breach a device, access the network, and steal data. The best defense is to encourage smart user behavior and prohibit the use of open Wi-Fi networks, no matter the convenience.
5. Mobile Device Encryption:
Most mobile devices are bundled with a built-in encryption feature. Users need to locate this feature on their devices and enter a password to encrypt their devices. With this method, data is converted into a code that can only be accessed by authorized users. This is important in case of theft, and it prevents unauthorized access.
Benefits Of Mobile Devices Security
- Regulatory compliance
- Security policy enforcement
- Support of “bring your own device” (BYOD)
- Remote control of device updates
- Application control
- Automated device registration
- Data backup
Above all, mobile device security protects an enterprise from unknown or malicious outsiders being able to access sensitive company data.
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