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People are strongly connected to the world of digital information, with about 90% of the global mobile population using it through their mobile devices. A report from Pew Research Center showed that about 85% of Americans own a smartphone and keep it with them all the time. Additionally, users spend roughly three hours and 43 minutes online and browsing the web daily. 

There’s also an increase in businesses relying on their employees’ mobile devices for work. In 2022, 15% of small and medium enterprises provided smartphones to all their employees. 

With these growing numbers of mobile device adaptations comes the need for higher mobile device security. This solution helps reduce the risk that these portable devices are vulnerable to, breaking the weakest link in the chain principle of cyber threats. 

What is Mobile Device Security?

Mobile device security refers to the measures and tools designed to safeguard portable devices from unauthorized access to sensitive data, preventing cybersecurity threats. Comprehensive mobile device security also protects the network to which these devices, like smartphones, tablets, and computers, are connected. 

With society’s continuous preference for mobile devices over computers, these gadgets have become bigger targets for virtual and physical attacks. What’s more, organizations now use portable devices to access company applications.

They present perceptible threats to network security, which accounts for all locations and operations of employees within the company network. Moreover, companies must take strict preventative measures to reduce risk and liability, considering the possibility of lost or stolen devices. 

Some benefits of mobile device security include the following: 

  • Data backup
  • Device registration
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Remote control of device updates
  • Protection from malicious outsiders
  • Application control

For many of these reasons and benefits, organizations have much more to learn about cybersecurity best practices around mobile devices, especially as it threatens data integrity. 

Types of Mobile Device Security

With today’s new challenges and opportunities, creating a redefinition of security for mobile devices is critical. There are various aspects to completing a security system, as it requires a unified and multilayered application.

A secure mobile system offers protection through the following: 

1. Virtual private networks (VPN)

A VPN solution allows enterprises to securely extend their private network over an existing public network such as the internet. This encrypted connection helps protect the transmission of sensitive data.

With a VPN, companies control network traffic while providing vital security features like authentication and data privacy. These allow their employees and branch offices to safely access corporate applications and information.

2. Cloud access security broker (CASB)

CASB is a tool sitting between cloud service consumers and providers enforcing compliance, security, and governance policies for cloud applications. With this software, organizations can ensure the safety of how their employees work, even in the cloud. 

3. Enterprise mobile management (EMM) platform

EMM is a collection of tools and technologies that manage how organizations use mobile and portable devices for routine corporate operations.

In addition to establishing internal device strategies that protect against unauthorized access, having an EMM platform enables information technology (IT) professionals to collect real-time information and catch potential threats. 

4. Endpoint protection

Endpoint protection safeguards organizations by monitoring the files and processes on every mobile device accessing a network. This solution also allows IT administrators to surveil operation functions and data backup strategies. It also includes data loss prevention, antivirus protection, and endpoint security encryption and management. 

5. Secure gateways 

Secure gateways are protected network connections, providing overarching and powerful cloud security. With the alarming rise of attacks distinct to organizations, firms must have cloud security identifying previous threats used before launching.

By integrating this solution, enterprises can identify a breach in one location and immediately counteract it at other branches. 

6. Email security

Email is one of the most vital business communication tools and the most popular channel for hackers to spread cyber threats. In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received 19,369 business email compromise complaints, raising the number related to the use of identity theft. 

Solid email security is crucial to block, detect, and combat data breaches and other attacks. Adequate email protection includes antispam, antivirus, image control, and content control services. 

Common Mobile Device Security Threats

Developments in corporate cyber security changed how hackers infiltrated secure systems. Similar to new security advancements, they now use unique strategies to get into the network. With the rise of mobile and portable devices, cybercriminals turn to these technologies, resulting in more diverse cyber threats, including:

1. Data leaks

Data leakage occurs through malicious software or malware installed on mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It may also result from the users’ integration. 

For example, an employee visits Google Play or App Store to download apps. Before downloading, these apps would ask for permissions, which generally require access to files or folders on the mobile device. Because they look innocent enough, most users tick off all permissions and agree without checking them in great detail. 

Although the downloaded apps work how they’re supposed to, they still threaten organizations. They may have the ability to mine corporate information and send it to a third party, exposing sensitive business or product data to the public and competitors. The lack of awareness and scrutiny leaves devices and organizations vulnerable.

2. Phishing attacks

Phishing refers to sending emails or text messages carrying malicious links or attachments to induce users to reveal personal information. This threat remains the most successful ploy hackers use to compromise victims.

Because mobile devices are always on, they’re the front lines of most attacks. Phishing now has different media to deliver malware, such as social media platforms. 

3. Spyware 

Mobile users worry about malware sharing their sensitive data back with cybercriminals. However, spyware applications installed by employers, colleagues, and loved ones to monitor their whereabouts and activity, pose a more critical threat.

Also known as “stalkerware,” this software enters the device, collects data to send to a third party, a process without user consent, and can happen without the user’s knowledge. 

4. End-to-end encryption gaps 

End-to-end encryption gaps are similar to water pipelines with holes. These holes let bad actors access the flow, compromising encryption quality. 

One of the most common examples of encryption gaps is unencrypted public Wi-Fi networks. This gap is particularly critical to companies. Since they’re not secured, there’s an opening in the connection for hackers to access data their employees share between their devices and the corporate’s systems. 

5. Internet of Things (IoT) hacks

With the growing number of smart devices accessing an organization’s systems, users or antivirus solutions can’t always observe them. Most enterprises reported that 78% have more than 1,000 personal devices connected to their company networks. 

This situation makes IoT devices attractive prey for cybercriminals who use them as the point of entry to the larger network. 

6. Network spoofing

Network spoofing happens when bad actors install fake access points posing as Wi-Fi networks in public places like airports, libraries, and coffee shops. Hackers give these points familiar names such as Library Wi-Fi or Free Airport W-iFi, encouraging users to connect. 

Sometimes, attackers set up log-in pages before accessing these free Wi-Fi services. Because most users apply the same email and password combination for different services, cybercriminals can compromise their email, e-commerce, and other secure data. 

Mobile Device Security Tips

Besides mobile device security management from enterprises, it’s also essential for every user to learn mobile security tips. These measures protect mobile devices from growing threats within networks and systems.

1. Separate work from personal devices

Users, primarily employees, are finding it difficult to separate personal and business information on their mobile devices. Although inevitable, separating them is highly recommended, as it speeds up the process if you ever need to delete corporate data permanently.

It’s also a threat for enterprises to have their sensitive information stored in their employee’s devices. Worse, most of these devices aren’t highly secured. 

2. Avoid public Wi-Fi

Although it’s tempting to access the internet over free Wi-Fi in public places, doing so increases your risk of malware and hacker exposure whenever you connect to another network. 

To minimize this risk, always check the validity of available Wi-Fi hotspots. If various hotspots claim to belong to the public area you’re in, check with the staff first to prevent connecting to an imposter network.

Installing an app add-on would also be best, forcing your web browsers to use encryption when you link to sites. If you’re regularly using public networks, try VPNs to secure all transmissions between your device and the internet. 

3. Integrate authentication tools

Mobile devices can get lost or stolen; hence, it’s essential to integrate authentication tools and policies to protect sensitive data despite such threats. Authentication can be in the form of passwords, biometrics or fingerprint and facial recognition, and personal identification numbers (PINs). 

Authentication policies also mean educating users regarding its best practices. Set up identity and access management solutions and multi-factor authentication software when possible, and ensure that employees understand its risks and importance.

4. Update operating systems regularly

Outdated operating systems are at greater risk of getting infiltrated by hackers. Large tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are constantly dispensing updates to stay atop security threats and vulnerabilities. 

Ensure that you have the latest safety configurations by regularly updating your software. Don’t ignore upgrade alerts on your devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. To help keep up with these updates, turn on automatic software updates on your devices to make the process easier.

5. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi play an increasingly important role in mobile device operations. These features create a vast attack medium for malicious threats. For example, Bluetooth can be a victim of attacks like BlueSmacking, BlueJacking, and BlueSnarfing. 

By disabling these features when not used, users minimize the risk of exposure to these threats. This process does require intentional action from users.

Hackers Are Improving, So Should Your Security

As long as there are devices and networks that cybercriminals can infiltrate, constant cyber threats are here to stay. While there are continuous technological advancements to combat these, hackers are simultaneously keeping up to date and are improving on their own. 

With great effort and lengthy processes, enterprises are getting access to new mobile device security solutions to rival cyberattacks. Moreover, end-users match these safety measures by learning the best cybersecurity practices and being conscious of how they handle their devices. 

Implement security programs such as a proven identity solution by bringing in the experts from Q5id. Contact our team of specialists today to ensure the safety of your confidential data and information.

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