Mobile security: Five threats to be aware of in 2020

To make sure your business is prepared for an increasingly mobile world in 2020, here are five threats that you should definitely be aware of...

Rob Stevens

06/01/2020

Over the last decade, the mobile phone has emerged as a critical component of our everyday lives. We use this tool for organising our day-to-day schedules, communicating with colleagues and collaborating with team members. Unfortunately, there are downsides to the rapid growth of the smartphone world.

Mobile devices can play a huge role in the security of modern businesses. Poorly handled MDM (mobile device management) strategies, low-strength passwords and other issues are all presenting serious concerns for today’s companies. To make sure you’re prepared for an increasingly mobile world in 2020, here are five threats that you should definitely be aware of…

1.   Wireless networks are a risk

Corporate employees in the modern landscape are constantly on the move, using different networks to get online. The average smartphone can only be as safe as it’s chosen network to transmit data. Unfortunately, public networks aren’t as secure as employees often think.

The good news? You can take steps to protect your team members. Start by making sure your staff are aware of the cybersecurity threats that they face each day with adequate training. At the same time, make sure that your people know how to identify and avoid any suspicious Wi-Fi networks when they’re on the move.

2.   Social engineering attacks are growing

Cyber attacks based on human behaviour are on the rise lately. A study conducted in 2019 found that 94% of organisations have been exposed to some kind of phishing attack in the last 12 months. Phishing is a form of social engineering attack, which means that it’s reliant on human behaviour and the mis-use of trust.

Social engineering attacks are particularly common on mobile platforms. IBM found that mobile employees are 3 times more likely than their desktop counterparts to fall for phishing scams. Additionally, employees tend to use the same device for both business and private matters. This means that it’s easier for attackers to gain access to personal information and corporate data.

Social engineering attacks are also tough to defend against through technical means. You’ll need to make sure that your employees are aware of the latest security threats to keep them safe.

3.   Physical breaches are still a problem

Negligence is one of the biggest factors responsible for data breaches today. An unattended device in the mobile world poses a significant security risk. This is particularly true when the mobile device doesn’t have things like 2-factor authentication to protect it. Good passwords and pin codes are crucial to protecting devices, but they might not be enough to prevent more advanced hacking efforts.

With this in mind, it’s worth making sure that your business has an ‘MDM’ or mobile device management strategy in place that allows you to access and wipe devices that have been lost or stolen by employees.

4.   Weak passwords are still a major issue

Although cyber criminals are getting smarter with the way that they break into technology and crucial data, password hygiene is still one of the biggest issues that companies face. According to SplashData, 123456 is still one of the most common passwords used worldwide. If that wasn’t enough, a UK study into National Cyber Security found that 23 million users worldwide had been hacked using 123456 as their password.

Weak passwords can be particularly dangerous in a mobile environment empowered by a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Employees may use the same phone for both their private profiles and business accounts. This could mean that if a device is lost or stolen, a criminal can just as easily get into business data as personal accounts. Combined with weak passwords, a lack of two-factor authentication means that companies are highly vulnerable to attack. Make sure your team members are using strong passwords on all accounts, and that multi-factor authentication is a common practice for your team.

5.   Updates are critical

Smartphones, tablets and all other connected devices are a common concern for today’s enterprises, particularly in a world where IoT is becoming increasingly common. Remember that when you’re managing mobile devices in your enterprise, it’s important to ensure that the hardware is up-to-date and properly managed too. A lot of employees often forget to keep their devices up-to-date with the latest software patches and OS updates.

Make sure that your teams regularly check to ensure that their devices are protected with the latest hardware and software upgrades.

Protect yourself

As mobile devices become a more crucial part of the average work environment, no business can afford to underestimate the value of proper security and protection. Make sure that you’re defended with the right mobile strategy by contacting Nice Network today.