Mobile malware is malicious software specifically designed to infect mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Malware can damage a device in several ways – it can disable your device, give a user remote access to your device, and even steal personal and financial information. In an instant, a malicious user could know your valuable passwords and banking information.
For instance, Kaspersky detected over 7,000 new mobile banking Trojans in 2015. This type of malware imitates the user interface of legitimate banking apps; mobile users type in their login information, and their data is stolen – just like that! Kaspersky also reported nearly 900,000 new mobile malware programs. Malware is a rising threat to all mobile devices.
How to Prevent Mobile Malware Attacks
Advise users of the threat of mobile malware
Mobile devices are, at their core, small computers. And just like computers, mobile devices need anti-malware protection. Before downloading an application, look into the developer and permission details. Mobile apps should never ask for more permissions to function than necessary.
Remember that over-the-air networks are not secure
In most cases, WiFi networks are not secure from malicious users. Free, open WiFi connections are especially vulnerable to malware threats. Companies should create acceptable use policies and implement VPN technology for use by employees to avoid exposing corporate data on public access points.
Propose strict guidelines for Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) users
Employees using their own devices at work need to follow company policies and guidance to prevent mobile malware. The corporate network may be secure, but introducing an unprotected or infected device will jeopardize that.
Be firm with company mobile device policies
Any devices connecting to a secure corporate network should follow the mobile device policies put into play. Most companies have a defined Security Policy, as well as an Acceptable Use Policy, to restrict how their network is used. Devices that are not allowed or do not follow these policies should not be allowed to connect to the network.
Never jailbreak your company or personal devices
Jailbreaking a device eliminates security restrictions on the mobile device, completely exposing the operating system. A jailbroken device can access and download third party applications not available on the Apple or Google Play stores. Without this protective barrier, malicious applications have a greater chance of being downloaded. And, once installed, malware can access the data used and owned by the mobile device’s other applications.
Only install mobile apps from official, trusted sources
The Apple and Google Play stores are considered trusted sources for mobile applications. These stores review and approve apps for download by mobile devices. Third party applications can carry malware and threaten the security of your device. Companies can also build an enterprise app store to administer custom-made corporate applications. This would not only add to productivity but ensure mobile security.
Frequently update the operating system and applications
Do not postpone operating system updates on mobile devices. Updates often include security fixes, as well as new and improved features. Depending on your mobile device, certain updates may not be available. On Android devices, Google updates the operating system, but the device’s manufacturer or provider can control which updates get installed, or when they become available. If your phone model is considered old, the manufacturer may decide not to send the latest updates.
Always encrypt mobile devices with strong passwords
Your mobile device can be protected from malware and still be susceptible to data theft. In the case of losing or misplacing devices, strong phone and SIM card passwords are a necessity. Secure passwords are long, random, and contain numbers, symbols, and both uppercase and lowercase letters. To be truly secure, passwords should not be shared or used on multiple accounts.
Provide secure cloud-based storage for users
One convenience of mobile devices is the “cloud” – storage that can be accessed anywhere, from any device. Companies can build their own cloud-based storage alternative to providing this familiar mobile luxury without the security risk of using external applications.
Motivate mobile users to install anti-malware software
Android devices have the highest malware risk, but they also have the most security options. Numerous anti-malware apps exist in the Google Play store, with famous names Kaspersky and Norton at the top of the list. Most of these applications are free, and some computer security software subscriptions come with advanced mobile versions. While some companies like Kaspersky offer apps for Blackberry devices, virtually no options exist for Apple devices. Anti-malware software is crucial for preventing malware attacks, both on your computer and on your mobile devices.
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