At one time, mobile devices were less vulnerable to hackers than desktop devices, and iPhones
were considered almost invulnerable. Unfortunately, hackers have prioritized mobile devices as
targets, and new attack methods are making mobile users more vulnerable. In the first quarter of
2017, McAfee Labs detected over 1.5 million new mobile malware incidents adding to a total of over
16 million incidents. Even iPhones have been hacked by spyware such as Pegasus.
Threats such as this make it imperative that you shore up your company’s mobile security. Here’s a
closer look at three reasons why your company needs a more secure mobile platform to deal with
today’s cybersecurity threats.
Passwords Aren’t Enough Anymore
As computers have grown more powerful, so have hacking tools. At one time, operating systems
limited password length to eight characters. In 2013, the Hashcat password cracker boasted the
ability to crack passwords up to 55 characters long. Bill Burr, who invented many of the password
guidelines currently in use, now says that today’s hackers won’t be deterred by
previously-recommended measures such as incorporating upper and lower cases, numbers and
special characters into passwords.
Recognizing the vulnerabilities of relying on passwords alone, today’s best mobile devices now
incorporate multi-factor authentication tools. For instance, devices using the Snapdragon 835 Mobile
Platform include the Qualcomm Haven security platform, which deploys machine learning in order to
support biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint, voice, facial and eye recognition.
Using these security measures are much safer than using a hackable password.
Mobile Ransomware Is on the Rise
The Qualcomm Haven also includes built-in zero-day malware detection, which can be a key to
stopping ransomware, another increasingly common form of cyberattack targeting mobile devices.
Ransomware hijackers previously targeted PC users, but today, they are going after mobile users.
Kaspersky reported that mobile ransomware attacks were up 250 percent during the first few months
of 2017, with U.S. users hardest hit.
Ransomware thieves often target zero-day vulnerabilities, as illustrated by the Cerber virus that
attacked Office 365 users last year. Using a platform with built-in zero-day malware monitoring such
as Haven can help protect you from ransomware threats. Backing up your data, even if you’re
storing it on a cloud-based app like Office 365, is highly recommended since local infections can get
synced to your cloud data.
The Internet of Things Introduces New Vulnerabilities
Another reason a solid mobile security platform is vital is the growing use of the Internet of Things.
The IoT introduces new vulnerabilities by expanding the range of devices that need to be protected,
as well as allowing new attack methods such as voice hacking. For instance, hackers can control
personal voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri by whispering in ultrasonic frequencies inaudible to
the human ear, a method known as DolphinAttack.
To prevent this type of attack, researchers are recommending that device manufacturers design
hardware to ignore commands delivered at inaudible frequencies. Manufacturers are currently
working on security patches, which should be incorporated soon. In the meanwhile, users can
address the vulnerability by turning off voice assistant apps.
Hacking techniques are growing more sophisticated as mobile technology advances. Password
cracking, ransomware and the Internet of Things represent just a few of the vulnerabilities facing
today’s mobile user. The best way to keep your company’s mobile data safe is to rely on an
up-to-date platform and keep current on the latest security updates.