Mobile phones and devices have become an essential part of the modern business landscape, allowing you and your employees to stay connected and work from anywhere. However, with this increased mobility comes a greater risk of security threats that could compromise the safety of your business data.
From malicious apps to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, here are the top five mobile security threats that you should be aware of and take steps to protect against:
More and more, malicious actors are using mobile apps to gain access to corporate data. These apps can be disguised as legitimate software or even built into seemingly innocent programs such as games and photo editors.
To keep company-owned devices secure, thoroughly vet all apps before installing them, restrict downloading from unknown or untrusted sources, and regularly update all installed software. For employee-owned devices, consider using a mobile device management solution that will allow you to monitor and control the apps with access to corporate data.
Riskware programs, also known as grayware or potentially unwanted programs, are legitimate software applications that are not malicious by nature but pose some risk for users in another way. For example, they may collect user data, track online activities, or bombard the user with intrusive advertising.
The simplest way to protect against riskware is to read app descriptions and user reviews before downloading apps. Be aware of what data is being collected, how it is used, and who has access to it, and opt out of any data collection that you don’t find necessary. If an app asks for more permissions than it needs to function (e.g., a travel app asking for permission to access your text messages), that’s a good sign to avoid it.
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks
Free public Wi-Fi hotspots can be convenient, but they also open up your device to a range of security threats. Unsecured networks not only allow hackers to intercept traffic between your device and the access point, but they can also give attackers a way in to other devices on the same network.
Instead of connecting to public networks, use your mobile device’s data plan or a private, password-protected Wi-Fi network for more secure access. If you must connect to public Wi-Fi, use a reliable virtual private network service to encrypt your data and protect it from prying eyes. Also, while using an unsecured network, never log in to websites that require you to enter your personal information or passwords.
Phishing attacks via email are not just limited to desktops and laptops. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming targets of phishing scams, in which attackers use deceptive emails to lure users into clicking malicious links or downloading malware.
Always be wary of any messages requesting personal information or login credentials, even if it appears to come from a trusted source. Check the sender’s email address for typos or other inconsistencies, and never click on links or attachments in emails if you don’t know the sender.
As new security threats emerge, manufacturers update mobile operating systems with patches and fixes to keep devices safe. However, older devices may no longer receive these updates, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
While it may be tempting to stick with the same smartphone or tablet for as long as possible, you should consider upgrading your devices every few years. Newer models have better hardware and more secure software, so you’ll have an easier time staying safe online. Alternatively, you can implement mobile application containerization, which allows you to keep older devices secure by virtualizing their software.
By being aware of the security threats that come with using a mobile device, you can take proactive steps to protect your information and data. When in doubt, follow the basics of cybersecurity — think before you click, use strong passwords, and be vigilant.
You can also rely on an experienced IT services provider like Complete Document Solutions to ensure your mobile security initiatives are up to date and effective. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.