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4 common mobile device security threats enterprises face and ways to prevent them

Apr 18, 2016 | 42Gears Team

4 common mobile device security threats enterprises face and ways to prevent them

Growing mobility is changing the way Enterprise Information Technology departments work. Employees who are on the move have been quick to embrace mobile devices as productivity enhancing tools. These mobile devices are slowly replacing laptops and desktop computers and are being used by employees for all possible purposes that include getting in touch with customers, checking emails, access business systems, perform business process functions and more

Employees are using personal smartphones for official use (Bring Your Own Device or BYOD) and are accessing company’s internal systems. There is a constant threat to the safety of company data if such devices are lost, stolen or get infected with malware. With devices connected to the internet, even company-owned devices given to employees are vulnerable to security threats and data breach. Precisely for this reason, enterprises must strictly follow mobile security best practices to protect mobile devices and their users from unwanted exposure and unauthorized disclosure of confidential data.

Owners of mobile platforms are constantly enhancing their security features. For example, Google continues to work on improving the security of its Android operating system. It has recently introduced features such as restricted profile and full-disk encryption. Apple expanded its single sign-on support and Touch ID while Microsoft improved its facial and fingerprint recognition.

Here is a list of the most common and widely reported security threats to mobile devices and ways to prevent them:

1. Social Engineering attacks or phishing

Social engineering is the art of tricking people, so they give up confidential information. It involves breaking of normal security procedures. It is the most commonly used methods as fooling people into giving their password is easier than hacking the password. To avoid such attacks, organizations must educate employees about the threat of phishing emails on mobile devices and encourage them to abide by company’s security policies. These security policies should insist employees use appropriate backup and storage, device passcodes and adherence to best practices. In addition, a secure browser must be installed on the device that allows access only to approved sites.

2. Malware

Malware is the term used for all types of malicious programs that are circulated on mobile devices to steal personal, financial, or business information. Malicious apps are the main source of malware and there have to be strict policies in place to restrict downloading of such apps on the device. Companies can further reduce the danger of malware by forbidding employees from using jailbreaking tools and using anti-virus software on all company-owned devices.

3. Man-in-the-middle attacks

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a form of snooping, where the communication between two users on a device is observed and altered by an unauthorized party. The chances of such attacks taking place are more likely on a public wireless network. The primary reason for arming employees with mobile devices is their mobility, however, using a public wireless network for official use is risky. They are usually unencrypted and data passed over the network can be seen and captured by third parties.

To avoid man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack incidents, companies should make sure that the connections to the corporate network are directed over an encrypted Virtual Private Network.

4. Mobile devices getting lost, stolen or damaged

Mobile devices are susceptible to damage and theft, putting the data stored on devices at risk. Company policy must ensure that all devices are enabled with a PIN or passcode to limit the risk. The Data Loss Prevention policies applied to laptops and desktop computers must also be embraced for mobile devices. Synchronization of mobile devices with home PCs should also be restricted along with forbidding workers from connecting unapproved devices to the corporate network.

Organizations are aware to an extent, of the significance of keeping company owned devices secure, but there is no such thing as complete security. Apart from the above mentioned precautions, companies could consider other ways of securing mobile devices to keep them safe against all threats. This is where Enterprise Mobility Management or EMM Solutions come in and help improve device security.

An MDM solution can be used to implement a reliable security model on all company-owned and BYOD devices, and any changes can be pushed automatically to the devices remotely. 42Gears SureMDM comes with a wide set of features that includes remote locking, blocking the installation of new apps and more. SureMDM enforces corporate password policies, wipes all data remotely, password protect unauthorized apps, tracks the location of devices on a map remotely that helps mitigate all 4 types of threats. With SureMDM customers can gain best-in-class mobile security.


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