6 Tips for Businesses to Protect Themselves Against Mobile Malware
The use of mobile devices at workplace has been linked with more employee productivity, convenience, and flexibility. Policies like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are taking these benefits of mobile devices to an even higher level, since such a policy allows employees to work using their personal mobile devices that they are well-familiar and comfortable with. But the picture is not all rosy. Using mobile devices at workplace brings with it a number of problems as well, of which security is the most concerning one. The fact that employees can use their mobile devices to work anywhere they want, from the private environments of office and home to the public environments of parks and cafes, calls for stricter security measures for these devices.
Mobile malware, a kind of malware that specifically targets mobile devices, is one of the biggest dangers that mobile devices face today. For a beginner-friendly introduction into mobile malware, read our article: About Mobile Malware Attacks
With the instances of mobile malware attacks becoming more and more common everyday, businesses have to think more intently about how they can ensure that they never become a victim of such attacks. A mobile malware attack on even a single mobile device can quickly escalate into a security threat for the entire organization. Hence, businesses using mobile devices should follow the tips mentioned below to ensure that they are safe and secure in today’s world where mobile malware is a threat too serious to ignore.
Carry Out Regular Audits of the Mobile Devices Being Used
At regular intervals, you should conduct a thorough auditing of all the mobile devices that are presently being used in your organization. In this audit process, you want to know the type of mobile devices being used, what type of business tasks and activities are these devices being used for, the common locations where the devices are used for working, the types of security risks that the devices are typically exposed to, and the security software solutions that the devices have currently installed. If you have a BYOD policy, then carrying out such a detailed auditing process becomes all the more necessary, because the range of mobile devices being used in this case would be very extensive and the audit process will help you keep track of them all.
Continuously Back Up All the Important Data
Since the mobile devices are being used for doing important business work, it’s natural that they will be storing a ton of important business related data as well. This is why it’s necessary for you to implement a strict data backup policy for all the mobile devices. Think of it as an insurance policy for the data that is critical to your business. In the event where a mobile malware does make its way into the mobile device and either destroys the data or holds it captive (if the mobile malware is a ransomware), thorough data backups can swoop in to save the day. You could go for managed IT services to help you out with securely backing up all the data. This will make it easy for you to create regular data backups for the vast range of mobile devices being used.
Make Updating Operating System and Applications a Priority for Everyone
The simple habit of keeping all the software applications of the mobile device updated can make a big difference in ensuring protection against mobile malware. Therefore, ask your employees to install the latest available updates for their respective operating system as well as mobile applications. The bug fixes included in these software updates will patch up any existing security vulnerabilities present in the software, thus shutting down the doors via which a mobile malware could possibly have entered the device. The activity of installing security updates should be treated as a priority by all your employees.
Have Rules Regarding Apps That Can or Can’t Be Installed
The mobile marketplace is flooded with practically innumerable mobile applications. Assuming that all of them are safe for installing and using is not only erroneous but also dangerous. Some of these mobile apps may seem legit on the surface, but actually may have malware hidden within them. Simply installing such an app may be enough to drive the malware into action. Therefore, you want to have strict guidelines for your employees, regarding the type of mobile apps that they can and can not install on their mobile devices. For example, you could restrict employees from installing any gaming apps and permit installing work related apps only.
Educate Them on How to Avoid the Various Forms of Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a common technique used by cybercriminals for launching a mobile malware attack. Educate your employees on what phishing is and why is it necessary for them to keep an eye out for suspicious looking emails and websites. Phishing attacks usually try to manipulate, tempt, frighten, or excite the user, in order to get them to click on a link or open an attachment, which eventually leads to the user inadvertently installing a malware. If your employees are aware of the common tactics used in phishing, then they would be careful in browsing through the web as well as through their email inbox. Phishing is a vast topic and you can learn in depth about it by reading the following articles:
What is a Phishing Attack & How Phishing can bait hurt you.
Warn the Employees About the Dangers of Using Unsecured Networks
Since your employees could be using the mobile devices to work at a number of different places, it’s important for you to advise them to use only secure network environments for working on the devices. This means saying no no to the sketchy WiFi networks, since such WiFi networks may have been set up by the hackers themselves in an attempt to lure users looking for free network. Once the user takes the bait and joins the shady WiFi network, the hacker could gain access to the user’s mobile device. Hence, make sure that your employees are well-informed about the kind of networks that they shouldn’t be using for work purposes.