We live in a world that is heavily driven by digital devices. Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc. have become a huge part of our lives. According to a recent report, approximately 6.648 billion people, i.e. more than 83% of the world’s population own a smartphone. Another report indicates that 75% of people use their personal mobile devices for work.
Although most businesses believe that BYOD is a good thing, the growing use of employees’ personal devices for work has raised a number of concerns for enterprises. Employees accessing corporate tools and resources on their personal devices exposes the business’s confidential data and network to lurking cyber threats such as malware, phishing attacks, etc.
Unless security threats such as mobile malware are prevented, businesses are at risk of being the victims of cyber-attacks leading to corporate data breaches. Businesses have to endure hefty financial losses and legal actions, in addition to the loss of brand reputation and revenue for compromising the company’s data or clients’ confidential information. This is the very reason why most businesses today consider implementing Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions for their organizations.
What is Mobile Malware?
Malware is a software that is developed with an intention to disrupt an enterprise’s network, and servers and infiltrate devices to gain unauthorized access to the corporate data. When such malware is targeted specifically toward mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. they’re called Mobile Malware. Although there are several safe practices that businesses observe in order to prevent falling prey to malware infiltration, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to intruding on an enterprise’s network.
What Are the Different Types of Mobile Malware?
Mobile malware presents a medium for hackers to access corporate networks and leak sensitive corporate data. There are several kinds of mobile malware that prey specifically on mobile devices.
1. Viruses: You have heard this term for decades, but it still exists. Computer viruses, much like biological viruses infect systems to damage the applications, alter their functionalities, delete files and insert their own code. This causes a huge performance drop and leads to frequent system crashes, the inability to connect to the internet or perform any functions on the device.
2. Mobile bots: Mobile bots, also known as fraud bots are designed to infect a mobile device and replicate human activities that lead to malware infiltration such as uncontrolled clicking on malicious ads, making unauthorized installations on the devices with an intention to gain control of the devices.
3. Madware: Mobile adware or Madware is a type of malware used by hackers to perform sixth-generation cyber attacks. It is designed to display malicious ads on the users’ screen in order to infect the device and collect the stored data on it.
4. Mobile phishing: Phishing attacks are not new to the business world. But with the surge in usage of mobile devices, especially beyond office premises and in BYOD environments, hackers have modified their phishing attacks to make maximum impact on the user’s mobile devices. Unlike the traditional phishing attacks that use malicious emails to hack into the user’s system, mobile phishing attacks use fake mobile apps to deliver the malware to the devices.
5. Drive-by downloads: Imagine having your corporate devices infected by malware despite being careful enough to not click on malicious ads, suspicious emails or untrusted links. This is what drive-by downloads do to your system. It leverages any system, OS or app flaws to find an entry into the system, laying hands on your corporate data and network.
Causes of Mobile Malware Infiltration
While it is a common belief that malware infiltration happens only due to external sources such as hackers. However, hackers simply prey on the corporate device and network vulnerabilities that are exposed due to the enterprise’s inability to create and maintain stringent corporate security. Following are the main causes that help hackers take advantage of your business’s fragile security infrastructure.
Improper network security
When businesses allow their employees to work from anywhere, especially using their personal devices, they lose control over certain aspects such as the choice of Wi-Fi and networks to which employees connect their devices. With the current workplace flexibility, employees enjoy working in public places such as cafes and resorts. An enterprise’s internet networks are always at their best and offer secure internet usage. But this is not true with public networks. Public or shared WiFis are one of the most common modes of malware infiltration.
Employees accessing their corporate data via public internet and WiFi is the most convenient way for hackers to enter into their systems and networks to spread malware and access the corporate data and networks.
Downloading untrusted apps
Businesses make heavy usage of mobile applications for versatile requirements right from task allotment to daily communication, file exchange and much more. A report suggests that average smartphone users have more than 40 apps installed on their phones. Google PlayStore, Apple App Store, and Windows Business Store are the big players on which the corporate world relies for the download and installation of several public apps.
However, there are several fake apps available on the market today. Most employees do not examine the authenticity of the apps before they download them and fall prey to installing malicious apps which take down their systems instantly.
Browsing malicious websites
The internet is a place of immense knowledge and data. Businesses rely on the internet on several vital levels. However, this is the very reason why hackers also exist on the internet in the form of malicious websites. Most employees are not aware of secure internet best practices and are unable to distinguish between legitimate websites and suspicious ones.
Skipping routine OS & App updates
One of the greatest loopholes that hackers are always on the lookout for is system or app vulnerabilities. If IT admins of organizations do no execute the routine app and system updates and timely patch fixes, they are exposing their employees to a risk of being victims of cyberattacks.
OS and app updates, as well as patch fixes, ensure that any damages, wear and tear done to the software and device are repaired and outdated aspects are replaced with the latest ones. Turning a blind eye toward what looks like a routine monotonous IT task, can make your business suffer huge losses.
Lack of appropriate cyber security knowledge
Lastly, no matter how secure your corporate infrastructure is and how well your enterprise policies are constructed, it’s of no use unless your workforce is alert about the lurking threats Their simple mistakes can make or break your corporate security. Educating your employees about internet usage and BYOD best practices can go a long way in preventing accidental data breaches.
How Does Mobile Malware Infiltration Impact an Enterprise?
The corporate world thrives on data. Data about the market trends, business strategies, client information, employee information, financial records, and much more. This data helps businesses to optimize their business models, improve customer service and grow in a competitive market. Isn’t it evident why the loss of such crucial data can be a business’s worst nightmare? Businesses have severe consequences if they’re unable to protect their corporate information.
1. Loss of revenue & brand reputation – According to an article, studies show that 29% of businesses that face a data breach end up losing revenue. Out of the ones that did lose their revenue, 38% lost more than 20% of it. A business, no matter how popular, is bound to lose out on existing and potential customers once it has endured data breaches. Clients tend to lose trust in brands that do not exhibit the capacity to protect their sensitive data, leading to loss of customer loyalty, as well as revenue.
2. Financial losses & legal penalties – Businesses face severe legal actions and lawsuits and incur hefty financial penalties for losing their sensitive corporate data. State and Federal Privacy non-compliance fees, attorney fees, added investments in reinforcing the organization’s cybersecurity structure and much more add to a hefty financial investment. According to an article, the Federal fines are up to $2500 per violation and the State fines are up to $1000.
Scalefusion MDM: Helping Businesses Avert the Malware Infiltration
It is evident why businesses hold their corporate data protection as their highest priority. To help businesses protect themselves from the growing cybercrimes, and build a secure infrastructure, there are many software available today. MDM solutions are widely adopted, not only to streamline remote management but also to strengthen the business’s security structure.
Scalefusion MDM is one such comprehensive solution that is designed to help businesses withstand the security and management challenges of this mobile-first world and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Let’s take a look at the capabilities that Scalefusion offers for businesses to mitigate mobile malware attacks:
1. App management
Since mobile apps are the most common vector for mobile malware infiltration, Scalefusion allows IT admins of organizations to execute a controlled distribution of apps. You can push only the verified and trusted public apps via Apple App Store, Google PlayStore, Windows Business Store, or even your in-house private apps on multiple devices remotely. Your Scalefusion-managed devices will allow the usage of only those apps that you push on the devices via the dashboard, blocking the end-user’s ability to access or download any other apps.
2. Secure browsing
The next big source of malware infiltration is insecure browsing, surfing untrusted websites, and clicking on suspicious links can be entry points for malware. IT admins can allow or block specific websites from the Scalefusion dashboard, which ensures that employees surf only the trusted websites for their work, and do not fall prey to malware.
3. Kiosk lockdown
An ultimate way to ensure a controlled and secure usage of apps and websites on your employees’ devices, especially when working remotely is to restrict the devices to limited apps and websites. Scalefusion Kiosk Mode offers this capability straight from the dashboard. IT admins can configure a single-app mode, multi-app mode or Kiosk browser lockdown to limit the device’s usage to a single or multiple pre-selected applications. This not only mitigates the risk of malware infiltration via untrusted apps and websites but also helps in reducing distractions and data costs.
4. Remote OS & system updates
Maintaining the organization’s devices in perfect health, ensuring timely system and OS updates, and constantly monitoring device performance is a small but vital part of an IT admin’s tasks. Most IT admins are overburdened with several such infrastructure maintenance and security tasks, which makes it cumbersome for them to keep a constant track of the multitudes of devices.
Scalefusion offers IT admins a centralized console through which they can keep a tab on their remotely located device inventory. Comprehensive analytics and device reports along with the ability to automate recurring IT tasks such as OS and system updates can help IT admins schedule timely updates within a particular maintenance window for all their devices.
5. Network security
Network security has grown to be of prime importance ever since remote working has seen a surge. Scalefusion MDM offers extensive network security features including the configuration of VPN and firewalls to ensure a secure internet connection for all the employees.
6. Email security
Despite having several faster means of communication such as VoIP calling, business messaging tools, etc. most employees conduct their corporate communication via formal emails. To secure sensitive business information that is relayed in emails, Scalefusion extends the Conditional Email Access policy for Exchange Online and IceWarp. This helps businesses, especially the ones that allow BYOD to ensure that their corporate emails are accessed only via Scalefusion-managed and enterprise policy-compliant devices.
7. Data encryption measures
One of the best ways to ensure that your corporate data stays secure, even if hackers are somehow able to barge into your system is to encrypt your sensitive data. Scalefusion MDM offers support for various data encryption features such as BitLocker for Windows devices and FileVault for macOS. With this, the encoded data remains secure and can be decoded only with a specific passcode or key.
Besides these, Scalefusion MDM offers several other device-level features with which businesses can steer clear of data breaches such as Remote Locking of lost/stolen devices, the configuration of strong
Passcode Policies, special BYOD policies that prevent users from mixing their personal and corporate data, etc. which ensure secure remote access to the employees.
Technologically advancement is inevitable. With the constant surge in digital technology, its related risks are also bound to grow. Since the world majorly runs on mobile devices and applications, it is the need of the hour to act towards securing these aspects to prevent your businesses from taking the bullet of data breaches. Several businesses worldwide trust Scalefusion for their device management and corporate data security.
To know more about how Scalefusion MDM can benefit your business, click here.
Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints
Shambhavi is a Senior Content Writer at Promobi Technologies with prior experience in commercial writing, creative planning, product cataloging, and content strategizing. She is a "Biotechnologist turned writer" and believes that the inception of great ideas happens over coffee.
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