Why mobile antivirus is a business necessity

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Over the past decades, the mobile phone's role in the corporate environment has gradually changed. It transformed from a voice communication device to a smartphone tightly integrated into the company's infrastructure. This expansion of device capabilities poses new challenges for both IT and security.

For professionals administering a traditional corporate network, mobile devices' management and protection can become a fundamentally new challenge. Smartphones have different platforms, own applications, and interfaces. Therefore, the question “What is the best mobile antivirus 2020“ is essential, but answering it is impossible without thorough discussion of the business threats.

Corporate Mobile Network

Modern mobile communications (smartphones, tablet PCs) have features that do not allow them to be compared with employees' laptops in assessing information security risks. At the time of staff movements, the computer is usually turned off and is used outside the office, often with no network connection.

If laptop users log on to the network, they deliberately evaluate the security of the channel. Instead, the mobile device is always with the user and almost always active and online. It is so individual and tied to a specific person that it can serve as its unique identifier. At the same time, phone loss or theft is more likely than laptop theft.

Mobile devices have a full range of assets and capabilities that are critical to protecting them. First of all, these are voice conversations. The phone's memory stores subscribers' contacts with addresses and phone numbers, history of calls and SMS, work files, and documents.

Using a mobile device, the user gets access to corporate e-mail, a personal account of the corporate portal, and a remote banking system. A smartphone is a tool for fixing information as it is used as a digital voice, photo, and video recorder. Also, it allows transmitting data about the geographic location of the subscriber.

The corporative risks are not limited to the possibility of information leakage. To understand when data in the corporate cellular communication network is the most vulnerable is necessary to consider the whole gamut of potential attacks.

 

Mobile operator infrastructure

The infrastructure of a mobile provider accumulates fairly complete data about subscribers. This information source is valuable due to the ability to obtain comprehensive data for a whole group of subscribers. Despite the efforts of the mobile phone operators, leaks do occur from time to time. But, as a general rule, getting unauthorized access to subscriber data is extremely difficult.

 

Communication channel

The mobile communication channel can become an object of passive or active interception. In case of active interception, the attacker only scans the radio frequency range, analyzes the communication sessions, and decrypts the data.

On numerous occasions, cryptographic research has drawn attention to the weakness of the streaming algorithms used in GSM networks. Finding the key used to encrypt conversations doesn't require much time on a medium-power computer.

 

Malware installation

In terms of cost-efficiency, the most significant attack is the hidden installation of spying software or malware on a mobile device. Such software allows the intruder to monitor calls, SMS, and geographic location unnoticed for the user. It is not a case of the mobile company gathering data, but a certain person. Moreover, such agents can record conversations, turn on a microphone or a camera, broadcast data, and activate Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Different malware types can take proactive actions on your behalf, like sending SMS and MMS messages from your phone.To install such spyware, it is possible to use physical access to the phone or hacking via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It is also possible to do this via SMS with configuration settings.

For example, by changing the browser start page's settings, it is possible to force the device to download and install software from a hacker site. It will be accessed each time the browser is opened.

The effectiveness of this method of infecting mobile devices is extremely high since it does not require any special equipment or the presence of an intruder near the phone. The attacker and the victim may even be half a world away.

Mobile Antiviruses Opportunities

Modern mobile protective applications are not only able to detect malware, but also have many other useful features like:

  • Anti-theft. It allows to remotely block a lost or stolen device, as well as erase all information on it.
  • Safe Browser. Prevents a browser from loading malicious pages.
  • Backup. It is used to create backup copies of photos and other necessary data.
  • Encryption. Allows to encrypt the mobile device's contents or create a VPN channel for a secure Internet connection.
  • Call blocking. This feature prevents spammers and other unwanted calls.
  • Filtering messages. It is the same, but for SMS.

However, antivirus remains an essential part of any security program, detecting and blocking all applications that show suspicious activity or infiltrate your smartphone.