Mobile malware, Cloud data leakage and User error are top three mobile security threats

These common mobile security threats are rapidly growing due to user negligence, and because IT doesn’t always know the best ways to combat them.

Mobile security threats are on the rise, and it’s up to IT pros to keep up with the best ways to protect their organizations’ data.

Threats such as mobile malware are increasingly common, and best practices to combat them are evolving, said Doug Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, an IT consultancy in Kitchener, Ont.

“The number of threats is growing, but so is the number of ways to protect yourself,” Grosfield said. “It’s about staying educated to stay protected.”

In addition to malware, data leakage and the threats from user error have grown more common in the mobile era. Many businesses lack in their approaches to warding off these potential risks.

Mobile malware

IT has allowed mobile malware to become a rapidly growing threat by not properly addressing it, Grosfield said.

Some companies try to combat mobile malware with the same technologies used on desktop PCs, such as antivirus software. But mobile malware is a different ballgame. It often comes from users downloading compromised apps that have made their way into Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store.

More than 95% of businesses have no protection against mobile malware, according to a report from enterprise mobility management vendor MobileIron, which aggregates data from its customers.

App reputation and mobile threat prevention platforms from companies, such as Appthority, FireEye, Check Point Software Technologies and others, can help protect against faulty or malicious app store apps. Those tools identify which apps have malware and allow IT to automatically quarantine devices that download them.

Cloud data leakage

The growth of cloud-based storage and file-sync applications has increased the potential for data leakage. Employees may store or share corporate content on consumer versions of tools, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, which can lead to data loss, and may not comply with an organization’s security and regulatory policies.

User error

Many employees put their organizations at risk by ignoring security measures IT puts in place, or even losing their devices.

Unsecured devices are an all-too-common problem, Grosfield said.

“You could walk through a crowded coffee shop or airport lounge and pick up half a dozen smartphones that don’t have a screen lock, or are not encrypted and have access to their corporate data, email apps and [virtual private network] clients,” he said. “Many people are still failing to protect their devices by leaving the door wide open.”

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