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Raising awareness quickly: Explaining BYOD and mitigating mobile risks

Steve Ragan | Oct. 8, 2013
Rapid7 shares its knowledge and explains how users can protect themselves from mobile risks.

Second, enable the "Find Your Device" feature available on most of the major Operating Systems, like Apple's Find My iPhone. If your device is ever misplaced, you can sign into Apple's iCloud and see exactly where your device is. You can also wipe the device remotely if it's in a location that you don't recognize or trust, so your confidential information is not compromised.

Threat #2 — Untrustworthy Apps
With more than 100 billion mobile apps downloaded since 2008, its no wonder that 4 out every 5 minutes we spend on mobile devices is on an app. Criminals who aim to steal your data are not unaware of this trend. For example, 97% of malware (malicious software) on Android smartphones is from apps that were downloaded from untrusted app stores.

These apps can look perfectly legitimate, but are usually loaded with malicious functions and once downloaded, expose the device owner to severe risk, sometimes even leading to the complete loss of control of the device to the attacker. A good example is Bad Pigs, which was a malware-laden app found earlier this year masquerading as the popular "Bad Piggies" game. Could you tell them apart in the link provided?

How Can You Protect Yourself?
Only download apps from trusted marketplaces, like Apple's iTunes and Android's Google Play stores. The qualification and filtration processes for apps to be included on these officially sanctioned marketplaces will significantly minimize any chance of your device being infected by malware. There are more than 2 million apps available between Apple's, Google's and Microsoft's app stores, so you'll never have to worry about finding the ones that suit your needs!

Threat #3 — Unpatched Mobile Devices
No software is perfect, and the stuff on your phone is no exception. The problem is that the flaws can often create opportunities for attackers to exploit and take over your device. This is why the software makers often release multiple versions in quick succession (as with the recent iOS 7, iOS 7.01 and iOS 7.02 releases).

This is called "Patching" and the responsibility for doing it on your mobile devices lies primarily with you. Less than 20% of devices in the US are updated at any time, resulting in 49% of Android and 18% of iOS devices containing at least one high severity vulnerability that is waiting to be exploited.

How Can You Protect Yourself?
It is crucial that you update the software on your phone whenever new versions are released. You can check by going to the Settings menu for your device, and looking up if there are any Systems Updates available. This simple step is by far the best way to eliminate mobile device risk, but so few people actually complete updates on a timely manner. Once the updated is completed, you can be sure that hackers cannot exploit older vulnerabilities on your device to gain access to your confidential information!


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