Countering Mobile Security Threats Starts with Employees

When addressing mobile security threats for your business, there’s one thing you shouldn’t overlook: your employees’ mobile devices. Understanding the most common types of attacks is critical to preserving the integrity of your company software. Here’s what you should know about current digital threats, and how to stay prepared.

 

The Growing Risks To Employee Data

According to a recent survey performed by the SANS Institute, your employees’ mobile devices could actually pose one of the biggest threats to your business’s security: mobile security threats jumped by 30% in 2016, and IT professionals say the risks are only going to grow. 

Mobile security regularly dominates the headlines, yet despite the coverage, mobile continues to be one of the security areas both individuals and businesses often overlook the most. The SANS Institute survey found that just 46% of industrial control systems practitioners had implemented patches that are vendor-validated to protect their company’s hardware. 

Attacks both continue to proliferate and grow more sophisticated. Symantec found that in 2011 alone, over 286 million new threats developed, primarily related to social media and mobile device security. Today, Symantec has found that there were over 100 new families of malware seeking to capture your data. 

Email is one of the easiest tools for hackers to exploit. They often create attachments that can spread a virus to your computer if opened. With one in 131 emails containing malware, it’s important for your employees to be on their guard. Security threats to mobile devices and countermeasures are vital.

How Businesses Become Targets

However, hackers aren’t just attracted to email. Ransomware has become a popular tool for stealing company data. Symantec has reported a 36% increase in these types of attacks globally. Between May 12th and May 15th of this year, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected over 230,000 computers worldwide, locking users out of their vital documents, photos, and hardware and demanding up to $600 in bitcoin for the recovery of these files. 

Major businesses, including FedEx and the National Health Service in the UK, were affected. One of the biggest cybersecurity threats is to hospitals, which often store their patients’ sensitive information on old or even outdated hardware. In the WannaCry attack, those devices that were especially vulnerable were running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. 

What You Can Do

Fortunately, while there are multiple sophisticated ways hackers try to steal your employees’ data, there are also practical ways to counter them and maintain the integrity of your business.

Firstly, consider running an app scan to see what permissions installed apps have, as well as whether they are leaking sensitive information to an outside source. Secondly, closely monitor the network connectivity of your employees’ mobile devices; hackers often take advantage of exposed networks to perform data breaches. Finally, consider having your employees participate in regular trainings to ensure they stay up-to-date on the latest mobile security protocols, including how to identify suspicious emails.

Conclusion

Your employees play a vital role in maintaining the security of your business. Make sure that you and they are aware of the security threats their mobile devices invite, and stay vigilant about combating these attacks. With the right planning, you are ensured that you and your employees are protected.