“The problem lies with the solution”.
Mark these words as you will probably know the impact of this sooner or later. No matter what human’s engineer to make our lives more comfortable, some people know how to turn it into a nightmare and exploit us with what we made to pacify us. Digital security is also not an exception to this fact as today there are all sorts of threats existing in the digital world in devices ranging from big servers to small Smartphones. Hackers and other frauds are constantly exploiting digital vulnerabilities in technology platforms spread across the entire spectrum. The latest addition to this list of victims is the Smartphone.
Smartphones have somewhat replaced the computer as the dominant computing platform on this planet and this makes more than just a convincing reason for hackers to venture into its vulnerabilities. According to a recent report by security firm McAfee, the threat to mobile phones is on the rise. Malicious applications engage in wild shopping spree’s in online stores without the consent of users and guess what… the authors of such malicious programs net a fortune for themselves from such encounters.
NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is another targeted Smartphone security vulnerability where criminals use the power of NFC to steal people’s digital wallet and also propagate the content from one device to all nearby devices capable of NFC.
As expected, Android powered phones are the biggest target mainly because of the immense popularity of the operating system and the fact that almost every major manufacturer has an Android based model in the market. As per a recent research by security firm Bit9, nearly 100,000 applications from the Play Store (also known as the Android Market) were found to be suspicious and could possibly have malicious content in them. Add this to the fact that almost a dozen apps are added to the play store every minute, the numbers could have doubled by the time you are reading this. Another infographic from Lookout’s 2012 State of Mobile Security Report points out that almost 62 % of Malware infected users have been tricked into being a victim by premium SMS and Wallpaper apps which, were cleverly disguised.
This is a serious dampener for brands who have large scale presence in mobile e-commerce as well as developers of apps with a huge fan following and involves financial capabilities. So what must IT managers do to help their customers from being exploited and what can you do to keep your devices safe?
Well, the biggest relief to smartphone security flaws is that unless the phone is rooted by the owner, it is easy for the manufacturer to undo the effects of a malicious app with a security update. So it is advisable for app developers as well as the manufacturers to promote this message to create awareness.
In the event of a disaster, recovery should be of top priority. If hackers gain access to your data centers possessing crucial financial and personal information of your customers, then you need to shift operations out, identify and fix the channel through which the Malware entered and clean your systems before resorting to restore operations to the infected facility.
To keep your own device safe, we recently published a guide on Smartphone Security Best Practices, that we encourage everyone to read so they know the steps they can take to protect themselves.
Nevertheless, cyber security remains a top priority agenda for brands as well as manufacturers because no one can determine the philosophy or motive behind an attack unless it is spotted. Once begun, such attacks usually go viral making things more complicated. So stay vigil and have your users practice safe play strategies like preventing rooting of their phones, downloading only trustful apps and so on.