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How to Safeguard Your Data Against The Top 3 Most Challenging Mobile Security Threats

With the introduction of hybrid work environments, mobile devices have become ubiquitous in our professional spheres. As their prevalence continues to grow, so too do the associated security risks. Common threats such as unsecured Wi-Fi networks, phishing and ransomware attacks, and data breaches continually evolve, posing significant challenges to individual and organizational security. To counteract these risks, CISOs and mobile security professionals are under pressure to continually update their understanding of emerging threats and implement best practices to protect data and devices.

Let’s first address the key security risks corporations face in this era of hybrid work and then address the best solution to eliminate these threats.

 

Risk #1: The Constant Threat of Accessing Unsecured Networks or Wi-fi

Corporate networks are frequently being accessed by remote workers logging in from external networks or Wi-Fi (such as in cafes, airports or hotels). These unsecured access methods pose a considerable threat, primarily due to the increased risk of data interception and theft. When devices connect to these networks, it becomes easier for attackers to snoop on data being transmitted, potentially capturing sensitive corporate information, credentials, emails, and other personal data.

Another common threat is man-in-the-middle attacks, where attackers intercept the communication between a mobile device and another system, such as a server. Unsecured networks also facilitate malware distribution. Malware can be transferred to devices through compromised files or by navigating to malicious websites accessed via unsecured Wi-Fi. Additionally, session hijacking is a significant risk on these networks; attackers can capture cookies and other session tokens to impersonate the user, gaining unauthorized access to private accounts and corporate systems.

 

Risk #2: The Growing Menace of AI

AI is becoming a significant threat to corporate mobile security, primarily due to its ability to make cyber attacks more sophisticated, targeted and automated. By automating tasks traditionally done by humans, such as crafting phishing emails or generating malicious content, Gen AI enables cyber attackers to execute large-scale attacks far more efficiently.

Gen AI also enhances social engineering attacks by creating personalized, convincing phishing campaigns based on data extracted from social networks and other public sources. Beyond typical cyber threats, AI’s ability to produce deepfakes — convincingly real audio and video clips — poses a new kind of risk. These can be used to manipulate employees or tarnish an organization’s reputation through sophisticated misinformation campaigns.

Additionally, AI can drive the development of adaptive malware, which scrutinizes the security environment of a mobile device and alters its code on the fly to avoid detection by traditional security measures like antivirus software.

 

Risk #3: The Endless Onslaught of Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks pose an ongoing, significant threat to organizations, leveraging various tactics to compromise user data and demand payment for its release. Here are some of the most common:

Malicious Apps — One of the most common vectors for ransomware attacks on mobile devices is through malicious apps. These apps often appear legitimate and may even mimic popular applications but contain malicious code. Once installed, they can lock the device or encrypt data, demanding a ransom to restore access.

Exploit Kits — These are tools used by cybercriminals to exploit known vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems and apps. When a user navigates to a compromised website, the exploit kit can automatically download and install ransomware if the device has an unpatched vulnerability.

SMS Trojans — These are malicious pieces of software that are disguised as legitimate apps but send text messages to premium-rate numbers from the infected device. While the primary goal is often to generate revenue by sending SMS messages, some variants may also lock the device or encrypt files.

 

Why Traditional Security Solutions No Longer Provide Adequate Protection

As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile with widespread remote work and the adoption of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, traditional perimeter defenses, designed for securing assets within a specific location, are bypassed more frequently.

Additionally, the sophistication of cyber threats and the diversity of mobile devices and operating systems have outpaced the capabilities of these traditional defenses, which lack the necessary visibility and control over mobile device activity.

In response, organizations are shifting towards using a zero trust model, which does not automatically trust any entity inside or outside the network and requires verification for every access request, regardless of origin. This approach, supported by endpoint management, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring, provides a more effective defense mechanism in today’s highly mobile and cloud-centric work environment.

 

The Optimal Solution: Embracing a True Zero-Trust Model with Symmetrium

Symmetrium offers a unique solution that enables organizations to adopt a robust zero-trust security framework without the need to discard existing technology. By creating Virtual Mobile Devices (VMDs) within the secure perimeter of an organization’s network, Symmetrium ensures compliance with all existing enterprise network security protocols. These VMDs utilize P2P encrypted streaming, allowing authorized remote and third-party users to access and view data securely from their own devices. Importantly, this data remains view-only and never leaves the protected confines of the organizational network, thus it is never transferred to or stored on external devices, maintaining its security integrity at all times. By using Symmetrium, no data at rest on external devices means no data at risk.

Given the reality that data, resources, and employees often exist outside the traditional enterprise perimeter, ensuring that there is “no data at rest” on external devices is paramount. Symmetrium’s VMD technology addresses this need effectively, offering a dependable solution to the challenges of modern security.

 

Isn’t it time to rethink your zero-trust strategy? Why not book a demo with Symmetrium today to explore how they can secure your data and help you maintain control in a transformed digital landscape.

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