Mobile Device Security, Risks, Vulnerabilities, and Guidelines

Mobile initiatives are a top priority for many organizations these days because research shows that increases in mobility help enterprises improve operations and productivity.

However, increases in organizational mobility typically result in an increase in the number of mobile devices that are accessing your systems from a remote location. And for your security teams, this means a growing variety of endpoints and threats they need to secure in order to protect your organization from a data breach.

As in the past, the most common threats to mobile security include mobile malware. However, as Verizon’s 2020 Mobile Security Index Report shows, there are new threats organizations need to consider as well in order to ensure they’re protected.

Below are the most common and critical mobile security threats that organizations faces. 

Table of Contents

Mobile Platform Vulnerability and Risks

There are over 3.5 billion mobile users around the world. This means that hackers have an extensive area to target. All the mobile apps are developed using the same languages that are used for their counterparts. If hackers can find vulnerabilities in a language, then they can find vulnerabilities in the apps that use that language.

Typically, the hackers use injection and malware techniques, like Trojan horse programs, viruses, worms, etc. Some attacks target the lack of knowledge of the users, such as phishing and social engineering attacks. Whereas, other attacks are targeted to mobile apps and their servers. 

  • Lack of Binary Protection: If a mobile app lacks binary protection, hackers can run malicious code and modify the functionalities. 
  • Insufficient Transport Layer Protection: TLS is used for encryption of network traffic on the apps. It helps in protecting confidential communication. Encryption is also essential for backend connections to avoid security risks that may reveal the session and authentication tokens. 
  • Leakage of information: It is one of the biggest vulnerabilities in an app that can result in exposing confidential information, like details of the server, environment, user data, etc. It needs to be taken care of to prevent mishappenings. 
  • Insufficient authentication: When the developers or app owners don’t perform the necessary authorization testing, several important assets and data of the app remain at risk. Authorization policies should be in place to define the permissions for users, services, and applications. 
  • Improper certificate validation: When the SSL or TLS certificates used by the app are not validated properly, the data flowing over the connection between the user and the server can be monitored and stolen.  

Mobile Device Security Guidelines

  1. Users should always have a screen lock for the device so that if it is stolen, the data doesn’t become easily available. Use of a strong password is recommended. 
  2. Like desktop devices, mobile devices should also use antivirus and antimalware tools to minimize viruses, spam, trojans, and other scams.
  3. Use encryption techniques on mobile devices because these devices can be configured to steal the conversations over emails, messages, etc.
  4. If a device is stolen, report it at the earliest. There are services that allow users to deactivate their lost device, which help in preventing data theft. Use such services to minimize exposure. 
  5. If there are unused apps on the device, either uninstall or disable them. It is because there will be no need to keep those apps updated and secure. 
  6. Keep a backup of your data so that if the device is lost or damaged, the data is still there.
  7. When the OS updates are available, don’t ignore these. Updates are meant to mitigate security bugs and keep the device secure. 
  8. Avoid downloading apps from third-party sites because such apps can cause harm to the device by installing malware. 

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