Secure your Mobile !
Mobile devices, of late, gaining popularity with the acceptance of BYOD (Bring your Own Device) policy across the Corporates. Many large organizations are realizing that it’s easier to develop and deploy their own secure apps for employees with off-the-shelf solutions. Barclays bank, one of the world’s largest bank, hits the News this week by giving 8,500 of its employees an early Christmas present: iPads ! According to Baxter-Reynolds, Barclays’ total cost of ownership for 8,500 iPads works out to approximately £13.8 million, or $2,600 USD per unit.
What about Information Security?
While Barclays is focusing on a bigger business gain and employee confidence, security, of course, is a major concern. “With the lockdown offered on iOS devices — including encrypted content — iPads have all the things that reassure the ‘necessarily-paranoid’ in any bank’s IT department,” wrote Charles Arthur in the Guardian UK, commenting on Barclays’ decision to go with iPads.
Zack Whittaker at ZDNet agrees, saying Barclays confidence in IPad safeguards sets a trend for other companies, particularly banks. “The huge iPad deployment shows a significant level of trust in the Apple platform — that it’s secure enough for banking,” Whittaker wrote in his analysis. “Finance, after all, is only one-notch below national security in the grand scheme of data protection priorities.”
Mobile Security in General
Yes, Barclays invested huge amounts on the devices, training and security management of mobile technology. Waht about other companies- big and small – adopting rapidly the policy of BYOD yet not fully geared to understand and prepare to the face the risk? FBI & Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) are warning the smart phone users of malware targeting mobile devices. Malware seems to be the worst threat to the mobility considering the low levels of mobile security awareness equally among the management & users.
Some tips to secure your mobile
- When purchasing a Smart phone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
- Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user’s personal data in the case of loss or theft.
- With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
- Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
- Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
- Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
- Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user’s location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
- Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in “unrestricted” or “system” level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
- Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
- If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
- Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.
- Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
- Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.