How to avoid malware on mobile devices which may pose risks to business

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27th November 2020 – (Hong Kong) Many people do not realise that using mobile phones such as a POS device may threaten their business.
Many businesses use mobile devices because they are more convenient than using paperwork, they are also cheaper i.e. a mobile device will cost much less than a POS device and many employees even use their own mobile phones. However, the downside of a mobile device is malware. Hackers can easily steal data from mobile phones and tablets. Malware attacks aimed at Android have increased over 76% in the past few months.

In general, mobile devices in general aren’t as secure as computers. The same security measures that companies use for workstations and servers usually aren’t in place for mobile devices. Because of this, mobile devices may not be protected by things like firewalls, encryption, or antivirus software. Yet more employees are using mobile devices to gain access to sensitive information. This puts their company more at risk for data theft.

Also, as long as you are using a reliable VPN service with some powerful encryption and well-secured servers, there is nothing to worry about. It is highly unlikely that hackers will try to infect a VPN connection with malware and viruses in the first place since that is too much hassle for them.

One of the most common ways for your computer to contract a virus is what’s known as a drive-by-download – you visit a legitimate-looking website that’s infected with malware and receive a virus that infects your browser without your knowledge. Since people spend more time browsing the internet on their phones than on their PCs, their mobile phones are that much more vulnerable.

According to mysecurityawareness.com, mobile malware is different from PC malware in that it doesn’t spread randomly via unknown sources or random phishing emails. Instead, mobile malware is actively installed by users who download and install infected apps from an app store, either Apple’s or the various Android stores. The attacker convinces the store that the app is legitimate and it performs as expected while it gains a fan base. Soon after, it begins its malicious behaviour. As with PC malware, the authors of malicious mobile apps are all about making money.

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward, one-size-fits-all remedy to the mobile security problem, but there are definite steps you can take to protect your device and ultimately, your personal information.

First, ensure that you use the following three core components to keep your mobile device secure. When combined, they provide a significant challenge for hackers.

  • Device auto-lock – Configure your device to lock automatically after a period of time. Only those with knowledge of the passcode can unlock the device.
  • Device encryption – Protect your mobile device by preventing access from intruders, eavesdropping or interception of data in transit by using encryption technology.
  • Remote wiping – Install remote locate, track, lock, wipe, backup and restore software to retrieve, protect or restore a lost or stolen mobile device and the personal data on that device.

Follow these tips to keep your mobile device secure and to protect your data and privacy against the growing mobile malware threats.

  1. Do not circumvent or disengage security features such as passcodes and auto-locks.
  2. Set the device to lock after a set period of inactivity. A recommended inactive period setting is 10 minutes or less.
  3. Ensure that you have GPS device location in the event of theft or loss.
  4. Use caution when downloading apps and free software, especially from unsanctioned online stores.
  5. Install an on-device personal firewall to protect mobile device interfaces from direct attack.
  6. Install anti-spam software to protect against unwanted voice and SMS or MMS communications.
  7. Install real-time anti-malware technology via cloud services that continually analyzes and re-analyzes websites and mobile applications. Protect against malicious applications, spyware, infected secure digital (SD) cards and malware-based attacks.
  8. Turn off “beaming” (infrared data transmission).
  9. Turn off the Wi-Fi when you’re not using it; and avoid using public, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.
  10. Before discarding any device, make sure it is wiped clean and restored to factory defaults.
  11. Threats to mobile devices are pervasive and escalating. Through malware, loss and theft, misconduct, and direct attacks, users are increasingly susceptible to devastating compromises of mobile devices.
  12. Don’t not let your mobile devices be used by children, who frequently download cool-looking but unknown free apps that might be malicious.

Use the knowledge we’ve provided here to keep your mobile device secure and you will be much more prepared to enjoy the conveniences of online services with peace of mind!

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