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Your Mobile Devices Need as Much Protection as Your Network

News > Your Mobile Devices Need as Much Protection as Your Network

Your Mobile Devices Need as Much Protection as Your Network


Cybercriminals follow the money. More people use Windows than Mac operating systems, and so more malware is written for Windows. And as the share of Internet traffic originating from mobile devices increases every year, thieves are shifting their attention accordingly. Are you? Most companies seem to remain far more focused on desktop and network security, rarely thinking about devices, even as their employees rely on them more and more.
Here's what you need to know.
Mobile malware is the rise.
Mobile malware detections and infections tripled between 2015 and the first half of 2016, according to various reports. The greatest threat, per Kaspersky Labs, were Trojans that gave attackers control of devices running the Android operating system. "Root privileges enable hackers to secretly display ads, install malware and advertising apps on infected devices, and buy apps on Google Play. The malware installs its modules in the system directory, complicating treatment, and some Trojans can infect the recovery image, meaning a restore to factory settings won't fix the problem."
Kaspersky expected this type of attack to continue in 2017, along with mobile ransomware, which was on the rise in late 2016.
The overwhelming majority of mobile malware is written for Android, for various reasons, but iPhones are not immune.
Remote hacking is not the real threat.
"Hacking" a device from afar is extremely hard. So cyberthieves lay traps and wait for us to take the bait. One common method is to sneak malware into apps, then offer those apps for free outside the Android and Apple app stores. You need to be extremely cautious when downloading apps this way. Saving a few bucks is not worth the risk of installing ransomware on your phone or giving someone access to your camera and microphone.
Phishing is the other common method for spreading malware to devices. "Mobile devices are as susceptible to phishing attacks as any other devices that can receive email," reports "But for mobile devices, the phishing can come from text messages, communications apps, social media and pretty much anywhere a mobile device can receive a message."
Exercise the same caution with links and attachments on your devices as you do on your desktop.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Allott Communications recently found that nearly seven in 10 mobile device users are aware of mobile malware, but only one in 10 has purchased a security app. This is risky, to put it very mildly, especially considering that "penetrating even one mobile device can give hackers the keys to the kingdom."
When selecting a security app, do your homework. Reading user reviews is not enough, as AV Comparatives demonstrated when testing 110 most popular anti-malware apps available in Google Play against the top 1,000 Android threats. Dozens could not achieve detection rates above 90 percent, and more than 20 were below 30 percent, making them "unsafe and completely unacceptable." A few were found to secretly collect personal data, and some did not use the internal tools that they claimed to. The full report - including the two dozen that achieved 100 percent detection - is available here (PDF).
Computer Business Review recently offered its top five picks for mobile malware protection.
For more information on securing your mobile devices, contact us.