Many businesses have enabled workers to access business resources and data from their mobile devices. But allowing access from portable, often untrusted computing devices, typically owned by the employee (BYOD), puts organizations at risk for a cyberattack.
Generally speaking, mobile users are more distracted and less discerning when using their devices, which makes them easy to trick into careless and reckless behavior. The mobile device itself provides multiple vectors of attack that can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to data on the device, or as an entry point to remote resources and data.
Attackers attempt to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and applications on mobile devices, or use devices as an entry point to access remotely hosted data and applications. Sensitive data can include anything from access credentials to sensitive patient or customer data, and even intellectual property. Unauthorized access to applications can result in the execution of fraudulent transactions or as a means to access sensitive data hosted on a backend service.
Mobile devices should be considered no different than laptops—they are used to access business resources and data, and they are vulnerable, which means they require the same standard of protection applied to laptops.
Deploying a mobile security solution turns an untrusted mobile device into a trusted one, and offers a responsible way to provide mobile users with the access they need, while preventing risks that a mobile channel creates.
Below, we outline the most common methods attackers use to exploit devices, and provide a checklist businesses can follow to keep their data, employees, and customers safe.
- Malicious Apps: Installing malicious apps can result in the extraction of sensitive data, and remotely seizing control of sensors like the camera and microphone to spy on users. For attackers, mobile malware offers an easy and effective way to launch sophisticated, targeted attacks because most users implicitly trust the apps they install no matter where they came from. As a result, devices are easily infected with malware such as credential stealers, keyloggers, remote-access trojans, and rootkits.
- Phishing Campaigns: Phishing and social engineering attacks on mobile users occur often. Phishing links are often sent over one of the many messaging apps available on mobile devices. When attackers access the user’s credentials, both their personal data and their employer’s business are at risk. Protecting mobile email, SMS, and chat/messaging apps from malicious web links is critically important for the security of the business.
- Device Vulnerabilities: Operating system vulnerabilities open the door to compromise. Running a properly patched operating environment and limiting its attack surface via proper configuration settings significantly improves protection. Most successful attacks don’t need sophisticated tools that exploit vulnerabilities—they simply exploit known vulnerabilities that businesses neglected to patch.
- Network-Based Attacks: Understanding the connections to and from a mobile device is critically important for the prevention of attacks. Most mobile malware needs to communicate with a command-and-control server for instructions, and eventually to exfiltrate data. Detecting these communication channels and blocking them is an effective means for preventing multiple types of attack.
While it is tempting to think about security as another product feature, implementing security properly requires highly specialized skills, a profound understanding of the platform and in-depth knowledge of relevant attack vectors and how to effectively prevent them.
Also inherent in MDM are federal compliance laws. These are vital to understand, recognize, and follow. It is incumbent on companies to ensure the mobile devices employees use and the networks they access remain in good standing with federal regulations. Companies that fail to comply face fines and penalties, not to mention significant reputational damage.
The cybersecurity team at InfoSystems delivers the expertise and experience you need to implement proper protocols and instill best practices that protect employee mobile devices and preserve the integrity of sensitive data.
Does your MDM solution allow employees to access and transfer the essential business resources they need, while also keeping your data private and network free from cyberattacks?
The checklist below will help you gain an understanding of your MDM security posture.
- Do you have an accurate account of which devices, and how many, are in use off-premise?
- Does your MDM platform make it easy to deploy and manage devices according to your policies?
- Can you support Wi-Fi security for all devices issued to employees?
- Is MDM a part of your overall security policy and incident response and remediation plan (IRR)?
- When an employee uses his or her own device for business purposes, do you have an “on-boarding” process by which the device is scanned for vulnerabilities and approved for use?
- Do employees have a comprehensive list of commonly targeted attack vectors?
- Do you have the capability to “wipe” data if the device is lost or stolen?
- Are you able to actively monitor usage so threats are identified quickly?
- Can you control and monitor app downloads and use to prevent malicious apps from penetrating your network?
- Are your employee devices in compliance with federal regulations?
At InfoSystems, our Mobile Device Management experts provide comprehensive protection, make sure you stay in compliance with federal regulations, and help develop and enact a cybersecurity practice that suits your company’s needs and addresses its vulnerabilities.