Ensuring the security of mobile devices is crucial for organizations as they embrace mobility to enhance operations and productivity. However, along with the benefits come increased risks posed by various security threats to sensitive data.
While mobile malware remains a significant concern, organizations should also address newer threats highlighted in Verizon’s 2023 Mobile Security Index Report. Recognizing and mitigating these threats is essential to safeguarding organizations against data breaches.
Mobile security threats can be categorized into four types: mobile application security threats, web-based threats, mobile network security threats, and mobile device security threats. Addressing each type is crucial for comprehensive protection.
*Social Engineering: Phishing and smishing attacks, which trick employees into divulging private information or downloading malware, have seen a significant increase. Organizations should prioritize educating employees to identify and avoid suspicious emails and messages. Limiting access to sensitive data and systems can also minimize the risk of social engineering attacks.
Data Leakage via Malicious Apps: The presence of unsecured mobile apps poses a greater threat to organizations than mobile malware. Implementing mobile application management (MAM) tools enables IT administrators to manage corporate apps and control access permissions, thereby mitigating data leakage risks.
Unsecured Public WiFi: Public WiFi networks are susceptible to cybercriminals seeking to intercept unencrypted data transferred over these networks. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) ensures employees’ sessions remain private and secure even when accessing company systems through public WiFi.
End-to-End Encryption Gaps: Any unencrypted service, including WiFi networks and mobile messaging apps, creates vulnerabilities for attackers to access sensitive company information. Implementing end-to-end encryption for all work-related communications and ensuring service providers encrypt their services are essential steps to secure data.
Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: The proliferation of IoT devices accessing organizational networks expands the attack surface. Employing mobile device management (MDM) tools and identity/access management (IAM) tools effectively combat shadow IoT threats.
Spyware: Users can unknowingly install spyware through malicious advertisements or scams. Utilizing dedicated mobile security apps and keeping device operating systems up to date help detect and eliminate spyware.
Poor Password Habits: Reusing weak passwords across work and personal accounts poses risks for unauthorized access. Organizations should enforce password best practices outlined by the NIST Password Guidelines, encourage password managers, and implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) to strengthen security.
Lost or Stolen Mobile Devices: With the increasing trend of remote work, the risk of lost or stolen devices escalates. Educating employees on device loss protocols and utilizing MDM tools enables secure management and protection of sensitive company information.
Outdated Operating Systems: Keeping mobile devices updated with the latest operating system updates is vital to patch vulnerabilities. IT departments can facilitate updates using push capabilities from Google, Apple, or third-party MDM tools.
By proactively addressing these mobile security threats, organizations can fortify their defenses and protect valuable data from potential breaches. Additionally, utilizing IAM tools can further enhance security for company mobile applications.