How to Protect Against the Growing Threat of Mobile Malware

They key targets to protect in most company cybersecurity strategies have been desktop computers, servers, and network equipment. These are all important areas to safeguard from attack, but often mobile devices aren’t covered with the same urgency.

The rise of mobile use at work and the ability of cloud-based applications to be accessed easily through mobile apps, means that company data is being accessed more often by smartphone or tablet, making them prime hacking targets.

So far in 2019, there’s already been a 50% increase in cyberattacks targeting smartphones. 

According to McAfee’s 2018 Mobile Threat Report, there’s been a 77% increase in mobile banking Trojans as crooks look to exploit the use of mobile wallets and banking payments done through smartphones. 

Businesses often have a hard time deciding how to add employee mobile devices into their network securityplan. They don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy, but the fact is that those devices are often accessing the exact same data that desktops do, so security is a major concern.

Let’s take a look at some of the top threats to mobile device security and how you can safeguard devices that have access to your company data.

What Are the Top Cybersecurity Threats to Mobile Devices?

There are now more Google searches being done from a mobile device than a desktop computer. Mobile use at home and work has exploded as devices have become like mini-computers, allowing us access to our data from anywhere.

Hackers have taken notice and are targeting mobile devices more often, and they’re often successful because of a lack of mobile device security.

Here are some of the top threats to the mobile devices you use every day.

Mobile Ransomware

There were 33% more mobile ransomware attacks in 2018 than the prior year. Ransomware is a major problem for businesses and often causes devastating downtime, and often firms have to pay a ransom in order to have their scrambled data restored.

Mobile devices are increasingly being used as a way to deliver ransomware which can infect an entire network through a shared Wi-Fi connection.

Data Leakage

Mobile apps that are less than secure can account for unintentional data leakage. It happens most often with free apps downloaded a by a user who then gives them certain types of data access and sharing permissions that they aren’t aware of.

Connecting to Unsecured Wi-Fi

The average smartphone connects to 160 unique IP addresses every day and many of these are free, public hotspots that aren’t properly secured. This leaves a device open to unauthorized access by someone connected to the same unsecure network.

Phishing Attacks

Malicious links and attachments that come through via email can also cause malware to infect a mobile device. Another type of phishing attack on mobile is to take advantage of those shortened URLs that are often used over social media, so you won’t see the actual site address until you’ve clicked, which can cause a drive-by download of malware.

Lost or Stolen Devices

It’s much easier for a phone or tablet to get lost or stolen than a desktop computer. Many of them aren’t properly secured with a lock screen code which can mean that an unauthorized party has access to all your business applications and the data that’s on them if devices are already logged into sessions.

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Devices

Over 75% of Canadian businesses support a bring your own device (BYOD) policy where employee-owned smartphones and tablets are used for work purposes. This practice saves companies money by not needing to buy company-owned phones, but also presents a security challenge.

Here are a few ways that you can protect mobile devices with access to company information that also supports a BYOD policy.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A company VPN can provide connection security to your users no matter where they’re connecting from, even if they’re on an unsecure public Wi-Fi. A VPN acts as a tunnel of security between the device and the internet.

It encrypts traffic, allowing users to keep their session secure and safe from hackers that might be on the same network.

Use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) Application

Mobile device managers can put you in control when it comes to the mobile devices accessing your data. The MDM app keeps work access on a device separate from private use, so it’s designed to facilitate BYOD offices.

Using a mobile device management application, you can:

  • Enforce network security policies
  • Remotely add or remove user access from a central admin panel
  • Monitor device access to your business applications
  • Ensure consistent login security across all work apps
  • Lock or wipe a lost or stolen device remotely
  • Ensure devices are properly updated 
  • Backup data to cloud storage

Anti-Malware for Mobile Devices

Because mobile devices are also susceptible to viruses, ransomware, and other types of malware they need to have anti-malware protection that’s designed specifically for them and will regularly scan for any malicious files. 

Get Help with Mobile Cybersecurity

Haxxess can review your current mobile device strategy and help you ensure that devices that have access to your company data are properly protected from cyberattacks and malware.

Book a complimentary mobile security checkup with us today! Questions? Call us anytime at 705-222-8324.

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