Mobile infections shot up 96%: What it means for you

With at least one smart device in nearly every user’s arsenal – and many holding corporate information – mobile infections pose a bigger threat to your security than ever.

According to a Nokia report on mobile security threats for the first half of 2016, 1.06% of devices, or roughly 1 out of every 120 phones, are infected with malware.

That doesn’t seem like a lot on its face. But think of it this way: Does your organization have 100-plus users? And do some of them carry more than one device?

If so, you may already have an infected device tapping into your networks.

Android leads the way

As you may have guessed, Android devices were the primary means of infection. Seventy-four percent of infected devices were Android. A distant second was Windows or PC devices at 22%.

One source of mobile threats, according to the report, were games. The authors suggest that with these apps (and any others), users would be wise to:

  • never download from third-party sites
  • install antivirus on mobile devices, and
  • don’t give apps permissions they don’t obviously need.

Mobile malware prevention

Keeping users’ devices safe will go a long way toward keeping your networks safe. So what steps can be taken to prevent mobile malware infections?

Here are some that may work:

  1. Have a robust BYOD policy. Make sure users know your policy and what it entails when they agree to use mobile devices on your network.
  2. Update OSs frequently. A majority of vulnerabilities can be countered by making sure users are on the latest release of their mobile OS. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially with Android devices. But let users know they shouldn’t be ignoring prompts to download updated versions.
  3. Have separate Wifi networks. If users want WiFi at work, but may not need it for their jobs, try offering a separate BYOD WiFi network to isolate (somewhat) risky devices from corporate info.
  4. Stick to trusted app stores. It bears repeating: If an app isn’t available on iTunes or the Google Play store, don’t download it (and if it is, only download with a healthy dose of skepticism).

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