Explore the latest threats to your mobile device security

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It is common knowledge that mobile devices are integral to both our personal and business lives. With cyberattacks
against individuals, businesses, and government entities increasing in frequency and sophistication, it is no surprise
that mobile devices are now considered by threat actors to be one of the weakest links in the IT infrastructure of
most enterprises.

A decade ago, mobile malware was considered a new and unlikely threat. Many mobile device users even considered themselves immune from such threats. 

Currently, more than 1.5 million new incidents of mobile malware have been detected by McAfee Labs in the first quarter of the year alone – for a total of more than 16 million mobile malware incidents.

Today, mobile devices are coming under increasing attack – and no one is immune. Some 20 percent of companies surveyed by Dimensional Research for Check Point Software said their mobile devices have been breached. A quarter of respondents didn’t even know whether they’ve experienced an attack. Nearly all (94 percent) expected the frequency of mobile attacks to increase, and 79 percent acknowledged that it’s becoming more difficult to secure mobile devices.

Mobile threat researchers identify five new threats to mobile device security that can impact the business.

Mobile botnets

New malware can quickly turn legions of mobile devices into a botnet that is controlled by hackers without the knowledge of their owners. While mobile devices don’t have the bandwidth and computational throughput as a desktop computer, botnet functions don’t require a lot of compute power to pose a threat. What’s more, mobile devices are often on all the time, which gives that botnet owner 24/7 access to large numbers of potential zombie bots.

IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) malware is still in its infancy, but it hasn’t stopped malware authors from making the jump, says Irfan Asrar, senior manager in mobile malware research at McAfee.

“The number of [IoT malware] families out there is just 10, and most of them are just variations of the same code base, but we’re starting to see in the underground sites that people are peddling mobile malware kits and are moving into the IoT arena,” and many IoT devices are largely connected to and being configured by smart phones and devices, such as mobile entry into a building or through a checkpoint.

Dead apps

Applications which have been updated or even removed from official app stores without their owner’s knowledge pose the biggest threat to enterprise mobile security today, according to new research from security vendor Appthority.

Security teams for both operating systems have been quietly removing an undisclosed number apps from their stores at a growing rate, but they haven’t revealed a list of the removed apps or offered any reason for their removal, which can vary from malware issues to copyright infringement to the discovery that the app was leaking data to a third party. The lack of transparency could impact the enterpr.

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