Mitigating the Risk for Mobile Devices

What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD, also know as Bring Your Own Technology or BYOT) and why should your company be concerned about it? BYOD refers to the trend of letting your employees use mobile devices they own personally to access your company’s information and applications.


While it’s often convenient for both employers and their employees, BYOD may put your company at greater risk of being vulnerable to ransomware or other malware.


What Makes Mobile Devices So Risky?


When it comes to your company’s own systems, security is in your hands. This isn’t the case with personally owned mobile devices.


Obviously, a cell phone, tablet, or laptop owned by your employee is going to be easier to physically steal. But even if the device itself isn’t stolen, it can often be more easily hacked. This potentially allows hackers access to your systems. From that point, they may be able to lock down your files and information and hold them for ransom.


Physical theft isn’t the only risk you face. With personally owned mobile devices, you also have to rely on your employees to keep all security patches up-to-date and rely on them not to download vulnerable applications. This is difficult for even well-meaning employees.


Due to constantly increasing competition for victims among ransomware creators, mobile smartphone apps make a tempting choice. According to Symantecs Internet Security Threat Report from April 2016, Android smartphone users are a main target of attack. However, Apple devices are not immune. Attacks on Apple devices rose considerably in 2015. According to the report, attackers are using newer, more sophisticated techniques to profit from their victims. For example, there were cases where phone ransomware was observed as it started to encrypt files on phones.


Mitigating the Risk for Mobile Devices


There are several features that should be included in your company’s security policies to protect against mobile malware. Some of these are:


  • Make sure access to mobile devices is password protected, including biometrics if possible.
  • Update regularly. Updates often contain features designed to protect against newly uncovered vulnerabilities.
  • Install and make use of remote “find and wipe” tools, in case devices are lost or stolen.
  • Download and install apps only from trusted sources.
  • Pay close attention to which permissions apps require. Consider noting in your security policies which permissions are allowed and which are not.
  • Make use of on-device data encryption.
  • Do not allow your employees to jailbreak or root devices that they will use with your system.


Increased Risks Expected in the Future


In spite of all precautions, the current trend is for the risks associated with mobile devices to increase in the near future and possibly beyond. The increasing use of smartphones and all other mobile devices is simply too tempting for cyber criminals to pass up.


If you would like to find out more information on how to protect yourself and stay ahead of the risk then please follow our link to find out about our special event we our hosting to specifically go over security in the IT world.


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