Don’t ignore the mobile threat

July 2017 Information Security

The recent global WannaCry cyber attacks brought increased focus worldwide on the vulnerability of corporations and individuals to cyber attacks. It failed however to highlight the very real problem of 50% of all mobile and tablet devices not being protected against cybercrime and malicious threats. In South Africa alone that equates to 40 million entry points into corporations and company networks.

Current malwares attack both mobile devices and desktops, attacks that include key loggers (password theft), adware, viruses and spyware. According to a June 2016 survey from Osterman Research, almost one out of every two participants indicated that their organisation had suffered at least one ransomware attack in the past 12 months. Insurer Beazley claims in a recent report that ransomware attacks quadrupled in number in 2016 over 2015. Beazley said it expected the ‘ease and effectiveness’ of such attacks to propel an even larger increase this year.

The ransomware business is booming, unfortunately, with more consumers and businesses being infected with ransomware that results in encryption of documents, pictures, videos and other important files. New ransomware is not identified by legacy antivirus software due to new distribution technology which bypasses signature identification.

So what are some of the basic guidelines one can follow to safeguard your cellphone or tablet from a cyber attack?

Take care when downloading apps

Cyber criminals can use apps containing malware to infiltrate your smartphone and steal your personal information. Download apps from trusted sources such as Google Play, the Microsoft Window Store and Apple iTunes.

Exercise caution in Wi-Fi hotspots

These pose a major smartphone security risk. If you must use your device in a hotspot, avoid activities such as online shopping, banking or anything that requires submitting your credit card information.

Implement physical security measures

Many smartphone cybersecurity breaches occur due to a lost or stolen device. Never leave your phone out of your sight when you’re in public, and install tracking software so you can locate it quickly if it disappears.

Lock your device when not in use

Locking is a simple step for minimising the smartphone security risk, but it’s a precaution that most owners do not take. You can program your phone to auto-lock when it is not in use.

Roi Shaposhnik, head of international sales, Gold N’ Links Cyber maintains that cyber attacks will continue to increase. “The software to carry out ransomware attacks is becoming increasingly sophisticated and available as a commodity through the Dark Web. Even more of a reason for companies to take a proactive approach and work together with cyber-security companies to find effective solutions against these attacks.”

For more information contact Graham Wright, Gold N’ Links Cyber, +27 (0)83 252 5727, [email protected],

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