Mobile Devices and Modern Threats

I had a customer the other day look at my Android device and ask me “Why do you use Android when everyone knows it has huge security flaws.”

There is some truth behind this question.  The truth is that all mobile platforms are under attack.  These attackers commonly have a persona as an evil person living in their Mom’s basement with a sinister laugh as they take control of another unpatched machine for bitcoin mining.  While these folks undoubtedly exist, you must also remember there are actual companies creating software that is designed to infiltrate and steal data from mobile devices.  Even more alarming is the fact that these same companies create software solutions for profit, selling them by the seat count to whoever is willing to buy it (and there are all types that will pay for this).  For an eye opening read, I encourage you to visit Brad Anderson’s blog post here:

I was driving to the office the other day when an epiphany hit me.  Maybe it should have hit me a long time ago.  I came to the realization that advanced anti-malware on mobile devices is no longer an overkill measure, it is a necessity.  I thought back to my days of using BBS’ and seeing antivirus products for download thinking AV is for “paranoid people”.  I think about those days and where we are now with PCs and how AV is not even enough anymore to thwart the sophistication of modern threats.  I was in a retail electronics store over the weekend and I witnessed a sales associate handing an AV software box to an elderly gentleman explaining he would be “good to go” if he installed it.  I went over to the gentleman and talked to him about Windows Update and shared some other best practices about protecting his PC, as much as I could share in about 2 minutes anyway.  In retrospect I probably overstepped my bounds a bit and came off creepy due to my stylish, power beard, but oh well :).  The last thing I asked him was if he had a mobile device.   He pulled out his iPhone and told me how great it was and that he was using email on it and wanted to look into Apple Pay.  I showed him an app called Lookout in the App Store and explained to him that he needs to protect his phone just as much as his computer.  He then stated he saw something on the news about hack on Apple phones, the conversation went on from there.

I am very excited about the Lookout and Microsoft partnership and the work we are doing together to keep mobile devices safe and secure.  If you aren’t familiar with our partnership, check out Brad Anderson’s blog here for more information:

The point of all this rambling is to ensure you are thinking about enterprise mobile management more than just cut/copy/paste/save as protection.  Plan (and budget) for a security solution that will protect your mobile device infrastructure (phones and tablets) from the modern threats that are getting increasingly sophisticated every day.

Jake Mowrer