Businesses have found smartphones as the best platform to reach to their customers and in 2016 we saw the global impact of smartphones in every business sector. Even politics is now a beneficiary of smartphones where the candidates were directly interacting with common people and sharing their views. When there are approximately 2.2 billion smartphone users in the world and an average user in using his smartphones for 4.7 hours in a day, it becomes a soft target for external threats too. 2016 saw a steep rise in direct threats to the smartphones which were not only harmful to us but for our businesses too.
There are some prominent threats which we had to face in 2016 and their probable solutions in 2017-
1. More Data More Vulnerabilities More and more smartphones are sharing data with each other and other devices like computers, laptops, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and tablets etc. It has become a new technology named Internet of Things (IoT) where businesses are sharing their essential information and connecting with each other. So, how could we save the data?
There were some targeted threats which were meant for spying. For example, there was a Pegasus threat which was meant for iOS and took the name of Trident. It had the capability of accessing your messages, call logs, emails, and apps of the Gmail, Information from facebook, Viber, Skype, Whatsapp, Calendar, Wechat and more.
Pegasus alone made people take mobile security seriously because smartphones are connected to other devices via WI-FI, Bluetooth, GPS, emails etc. and a threat could easily traverse to other connected devices.
Solution Don’t be too dependent on IoT (Internet of Things) devices and use some established cloud services like AWS and Microsoft Azure to send and receive the information, or to use business resources. We should also use the devices which are following standard hardware guidelines and our mobile application development practices should go parallel with the security standards.
2. Direct Cyber-Threats for Smartphones There were some threats which were directly meant for smartphones in the form of Denial of Services(DoS). After installing some malicious apps, they were stopping the function of other apps too. These apps reduce the productivity of a smartphone and such apps deliberately stop or slow the function of other apps so that the user cannot legitimately use them and temporarily disconnected him from a particular network or services. Such threats are highly dangerous for emailing apps, chatting apps, or banking apps.
Solution DoS kind of attacks could be handled better if we follow an efficient enterprise mobility management system. It includes various benefits like mobile device management, using Cloud support services as hosting services, security features and much more to protect your smartphones.
3. Non-Upgradeable android phones- Most developing countries like some south-Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Indonesia etc.) and African countries (Kenya, Zimbabwe, Congo etc.) have a large number of people who cannot afford an $100 smartphones. There are approximately 200 million people who are using a smartphone which is cheaper than $25 and have an android platform. Android platforms are most widely used mobile operating system, so they are also the most affected victim of cyber attacks. These cheap android smartphones are non-upgradeable and have a lifespan of 1-2 years, so people usually overuse it by installing different mundane apps. It gives a chance to the malicious apps to catch their prey, they can copy their personal and professional information, deny them from working or changing the settings.
Solution Always download from Google’s play store only. It is a very hard chance a malicious app will come from Google. Always synchronize your apps with play store too.
If you have a business environment, then always go for such phones which support Android for Work feature. Such smartphones are inbuilt mobile device management or enterprise mobile app so that they business applications could be used here easily.
4. Beware of Instant apps In May 2016 Google presented its a very new feature called Instant apps, which enables an app to work for a short period of time. For example, you have visited a website which has some functionality to run on an app, so you can use that app. When you come out of such website the app will uninstall itself. It removes the need of installing an app for a constant use. But the problem is that it is quite new technology and only a handful of people are using it. So it remains a question that whether it is really that beneficial or not.
Solution- It is still a naive technology and even Google believe that it is yet to be tested on enterprise floor. So we would propose you to wait until the end of 2017 to see its full potential.
5. Mobile Payment Security 2016 was a rise of various mobile wallets and other payment options which were promising a safe and secure mobile money transfer, but due to the alarming mobile threats, there is suspicion among common people that whether these payment options are fully safe or not.
Solution Always be sure that payment platforms have some robust security features to stop the external threats to malign the data. Different payment platforms use third-party security providers to maintain a secure transaction.