To the people whose data, devices, and digital lives we protect every day:
Lookout has just released a brand new design for the Lookout app for Android, all based on your feedback.
We recently completed a comprehensive customer-insights initiative with you, our users. In it, we learned that you need:
Strong protection from the real threats to your devices and data
Timely and easy-to-understand information about active threats
Peace of mind that your mobile security app protects you automatically
Knowledge and education that empowers you
“The goal of this redesign was to empower users with clear, straightforward, and actionable information about their device and data, all the while providing them peace of mind knowing that Lookout is always watching out for them.” – Sachin Kansal, vice president of consumer product, Lookout
2) Individual employees have tremendous control over their mobile environment. They have freedom to choose whatever apps they would like to use to get their work done. This isn’t inherently a bad thing — every company wants productive employees — but it can inadvertently put corporate data at risk if an employee chooses the wrong app..
3) Mobile apps creators range from Forbes 500 companies to a few guys in a garage. The problem is, app developers of any size do not know your company’s specific data protection sensitivities, government compliance regulations, industry standards, or data sovereignty laws. The apps are not always built to meet these sensitivities and may leak corporate data despite being otherwise “benign.”
Mobile apps introduce a new layer of complexity to an enterprise’s security strategy as IT now has to protect against everything from malicious apps to risky app behaviors.
While October is typically associated with spooky Halloween costumes and binging on sweets, October also means celebrating European Cyber Security Month. While it doesn’t involve any ghosts and ghouls, security threats are sometimes scary too, so the European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) initiative promotes awareness of cyber security issues and best practices for how everyone can stay safe online.
The last week of October is Mobile Malware Week, so to help raise awareness of mobile malware and give everyone the information they need to avoid it, we’ve partnered with Europol and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to give you the tips you need to protect yourself from mobile malware.
While mobile malware creators will always find creative ways to try and get their malicious software on your mobile device, there are a few simple ways you can adjust your behaviour to lower your risk of falling victim to mobile malware:
1. Only download from official app stores. If that free version of your favourite app shows up in a third party app store and sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While the app could have the same functionality it promotes, it could be stealing your information, charging you money, or slowing down your phone in the background as you play. It is also a good idea to check out an app’s reviews to make sure that it is credible before downloading.
2. Don’t fall for phishing scams. Phishing is where an attacker tricks you into giving over your personal information or other data the attacker might want. For example, a criminal may send you an email that looks like it came from your bank asking you to verify your password. Trust your instincts. If the request seems weird or oddly timed, head to the company’s official website and contact them directly to confirm if the request came from them. Phishing scams generally give themselves away with bad grammar and spelling, but others can look very realistic.
3. Think before you click. On the small screen of a mobile device, it can be hard to know if a link you’ve received in an email is safe, but clicking on a malicious link could lead you to a phishing scam or to download malware to your device without you knowing. If you receive a link from someone you don’t know, it is best not to click on it. You can always go right to a company’s website to access the webpage. If you notice a website with a spelling error, close it immediately — www.go0gle.com is not the same as www.google.com.
4. Think before you download. Just like you shouldn’t click on a link in an email that comes from someone you don’t know, you also shouldn’t download any attachments from that email, since they could be malicious.
5. Stay up to date. Malware can be used to exploit vulnerabilities in your mobile device’s software. Those software updates you receive from your carrier or manufacturer often include “patches” for these vulnerabilities. Whenever your carrier or manufacturer pushes a software update to your phone, make sure you update as soon as possible.
6. Install a mobile security app. No matter how careful you are clicking on links and downloading apps, sometimes you can accidentally download something you didn’t want. That’s why it’s nice to have a mobile security app, such as Lookout, ensuring all the websites you visit and the apps you download are safe. There’s nothing like peace of mind when it comes to protecting your mobile device and everything on it.
For more detailed tips on staying safe while mobile banking, and protecting yourself from web-based threats and mobile ransomware, check out Europol’s bank of useful assets.
In the spirit of raising awareness during ECSM and helping keep people safe, share this post on Facebook with your family and friends. Not only will you be offering great advice, you could win one year of Lookout Premium! We’ll be picking five winners on October 31st.
October sees the return of European Cyber Security Month, which is the EU’s annual advocacy campaign that aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among citizens and provide up to date security information, through education and sharing of good practices.
This year 24th – 28th October is known as Mobile Malware Week and so Lookout have partnered with Europol and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to help raise awareness and educate around mobile malware plus provide tips for how to stay safe.
Mobile Malware in the Enterprise
When it comes to mobile, many of the threats facing enterprises are the same as those encountered by consumers. Often, devices are dual function, serving both work and personal interests and the device may or may not be owned by the enterprise. Problems can arise when corporate data finds its way onto devices that are outside the visibility or span of control of the IT team. As users spend more and more of their working day interacting with mobile devices it is essential that business take note, and expand their toolsets and policies to fit.
Mobile Malware – what is it?
Mobile malware is a malicious software specifically designed to attack mobile devices e.g. phones and tablets – set out to harm a device or the data on the device. Attacks can often steal user data, commit financial fraud, negatively impact device performance and more. These threats can be the same as those encountered from a computer, but some malware attacks apps and is specific to mobile. Mobile malware can work in tandem with a computer, or act independently.
Different organisations may have different ways they classify or consider Mobile Malware, but here’s a basic overview:
Malware: Apps that steal user data, commit financial fraud, and/or negatively impact device performance.
Chargeware: Apps that charge users for content or services without clear notification or the opportunity to provide informed consent.
Adware: Apps that serve ads that interfere with standard operating experiences and/or collect excessive personal data that exceeds standard advertising practices.
There are also more granular classifications that include: app droppers, backdoors, bots, click fraud apps, spam apps, spyware, surveillanceware, toll fraud apps, and trojans. You can read more about them here.
Real life examples
Mobile devices attract highly targeted and sophisticated attacks. These are not solely the domain of the PC or network and in fact may take advantage of some of the capabilities of a mobile device, such as GPS and additional sensors. An example was the recent ‘Pegasus’ spyware, one of the most advanced pieces of mobile spyware ever seen by Lookout. Pegasus had the ability to compromise a device with one click, remain silently embedded and then spy on every aspect of the user’s mobile interaction. Pegasus could intercept credentials, contact data, location data, intercept mic and video recordings and steal encrypted messages from a number of popular apps and services.
Interestingly Pegasus exploited several assumptions that are just as common to mobile devices as desktops – existence of unknown or unpatched vulnerabilities, willingness of users to click on unknown links, and over-reliance on existing security mechanisms (MDMs did not detect Pegasus).
A final consideration and a growing concern to enterprises is that even ‘good’ apps may introduce considerable risk. With many apps having the ability to connect to backend services, share data and regularly update themselves, enterprises increasingly need to know how this affects the organisation’s security posture. Having an awareness of apps in use and the ability to analyse the capabilities of those apps is an increasing requirement.
How to stay safe
While it’s true that more native safeguards exist, such as code-signing, app sandboxing and curated app stores, we also see attackers working around these safeguards and going for the weakest links. This often involves coming up with new and novel approaches to distribute malware.
In order to see what’s happening so you can do something about it, the best approach if to gain visibility into to your mobile fleet – visibility is a necessary component of mobile security. While your employee might not know what they’re downloading, with the right tools, IT administrators can see, almost immediately, that a seemingly innocuous app is actually a threat to corporate data. A mobile security solution will help you do this.
A little awareness also goes a long way, and so it pays to keep you users informed. Check out our consumer blog with some useful tips for end users. Also make sure your IT policy covers mobile and is understandable for end users.
Lastly, have a plan and ensure users know who to contact and how to react in case of a suspected compromise.
The October Android Security Bulletin contains 78 patches for Android devices — 23 more than last month, yet the third highest since Google started releasing the monthly patches. The release reveals more remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities, which could allow an attacker to take over a device requiring very little interaction from the victim.
Given the fragmentation of Android, and the slower patch cycles for these devices, mounting RCE issues could spell trouble for individuals waiting for patches and companies whose employees use Android devices.
This means that while enterprise employees more seriously consider mobile devices to be an invaluable tool in their everyday working lives, enterprise IT teams don’t have to struggle to secure the rapidly increasing number of endpoints on their networks.