Mobile devices are practically everywhere. Americans in particular are hooked on the convenience and versatility that mobile devices provide. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing them being used for business calls, social media channels, emailing, and traditional calls. Sadly, this beloved form of communication and doing business is becoming more and more susceptible to security attacks. From data leaks to malicious text messages (called smishing scams), mobile devices are becoming more of a threat in recent years especially given the number of people who use them for personal and business dealings. Here are a few of the most recent mobile device threats and how you can prevent negative consequences should your mobile device become a target.
American Mobile Device Use
To understand the potential threats posed by mobile devices, it's a good idea to take a broad look at how Americans use their devices. You may be shocked to learn just how integrated our devices have become and how dependent we are on them. According to Insider Intelligence studies, the typical American smartphone user is on their phone an average of four hours and twenty-three minutes daily! Approximately 253 million American adults use their mobile devices every day for both personal contacts and business dealings. During the pandemic, many businesses switched to a hybrid work schedule or remote options. This practice pushed even more Americans to adopt the use of home devices for conference calls, texting workmates, and completing data transactions. So to say we are a society addicted to our mobile devices would be a gross understatement. Hackers know this and see it as another venue to gain valuable data, obtain identity information or gather business intelligence and data.
Types of Mobile Threats
There are four main mobile threats that every business should be aware of and pass along to their workforce, especially as employees begin to use their own devices for business purposes.
Malicious Apps and Websites
Mobile devices are similar to desktop devices in that they all use software and apps to conduct business. Mobile devices can also have spyware or malware infecting them after a user accidentally installs an app that may seem legitimate but is malicious.
It’s fairly common for mobile users to search the internet for answers, services, or products they desire. By accessing malicious websites, mobile devices can become infected and download malware to your devices.
How often have you used your mobile device to log in to data while at a public restaurant, coffee shop, or while traveling? The use of public Wi-Fi could make your mobile device vulnerable. Unprotected data could be accessed and obtained by a malicious party accessing the same Wi-Fi signal.
These types of threats include the loss or theft of the device where someone can gain physical access to data once they have obtained the device.
Countermeasures to Mobile Attacks
Since mobile use will most likely only increase in the coming years, organizations should take steps to protect devices and their users. Here are a few ideas of countermeasures that can help protect your business.
Teach your employees how to identify malicious phishing emails and text messages.
Review permissions of apps that are downloaded onto the mobile device.
Use mobile application management (MAM) tools to protect against data leaks.
Use a VPN whenever you need to access public Wi-Fi.
Use end-to-end encryption when accessing sensitive data.
Use mobile security apps to detect and eliminate spyware.
Encourage employees to use best practices when setting up passwords.
Talk to our team about how you can protect the mobile devices used by your employees that, in turn, will protect your business data.