Your Mobile Phone: Friend or Foe?

Tips & Advice

Where would we be without our mobile phones?  Our kids, boss, friends – so many people reach out to us via our mobile phone.  And unfortunately, hackers have also started reaching out – in major ways. The severity of attacks on mobile devices is often underestimated. It is now common to have employees use their phones for work-related tasks when they are not within the perimeter of their corporate firewall, giving cybercriminals the opportunity to access sensitive information if and when they hack into an employee’s phone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common mobile threats that put your business at risk and how to prevent them.

App-Based Threats

Although new mobile malware declined by 24% in Q3 2018, per our latest Quarterly Threats Report, app-based threats still dominate the threat landscape. Malicious actors use social engineering techniques by asking users to update their applications by uninstalling the real app and re-installing a malicious one. With one click, malware can be installed on your mobile device.

Many app-based threats can evolve into more insidious attacks and can go beyond exploiting your personal information. An attacker’s initial goal is to get access and all they need is one vulnerable employee to fall victim to an app-based threat. Once the attacker gains access to an employee’s personally identifiable information (PII) or credentials, they can hijack accounts, impersonate the employee, and trick other employees into divulging even more sensitive corporate data.

Late last year, the McAfee Mobile Research team discovered an active phishing campaign that uses text messages (SMS) to trick users into downloading and installing a fake voice-message app. The app allowed cybercriminals to use infected devices as network proxies without the users’ knowledge.

This year, we expect to see an increase in underground discussions on mobile malware—mostly focused on Android—regarding botnets, banking fraud, ransomware, and bypassing two-factor authentication security.

Risky Wi-Fi Networks

Using public Wi-Fi is one of the most common attack vectors for cybercriminals today. With free public Wi-Fi widely available in larger cities, it has become a convenient way to access online accounts, check emails, and catch up on work while on the go. The industry has seen network spoofing increase dramatically in the past year. To put this into perspective, picture a hacker setting up a rogue access point in a public place like your local bank. A hacker will wait for you to connect to Wi-Fi that you think is a trusted network. Once the hacker gains access, they’re connected to your mobile device. They’ll watch remotely as you access sensitive information, revealing log-in credentials, confidential documents, and more.

Whether you are at home or working remotely, network security needs to be a high priority.

Device Attacks

Cybercriminals have various ways of enticing users to install malware on their mobile devices. Ad and click fraud is a growing concern for device attacks, where criminals can gain access to a company’s internal network by sending an SMS phish. These types of phishing attempts may start as adware, but can easily spread to spyware to the entire botnet.

Another growing concern with mobile device threats is when malware is hidden in other IoT devices and the information obtained by the hacker can be used as an entry point to your mobile device or your company network. With IoT malware families rapidly being customized and developed, it’s important for users to be aware and know how to protect themselves.

How to Better Protect Your Mobile Device

Mobile devices have all the organizational information that traditional endpoints have. McAfee® MVISION Mobile lets you protect against threats to your employees and your data on iOS and Android devices like you do on your PCs. With MVISION Mobile, you can manage the defense of your mobile devices alongside your PCs, IoT devices, servers, and cloud workloads inside McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (McAfee ePO) with unified visibility into threats, integrated compliance reporting, and threat response orchestration.

The most comprehensive mobile device security is on the device itself, and MVISION Mobile delivers unparalleled on-device protection. Visit our web site for more information, and a product tour.

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