Hacking: Changing Priorities In A Mobile Workplace

999 words - 4 pages

Over half of all companies store sensitive customer information on mobile devices. It is a remarkable percentage that when dwelled on, can be truly alarming. Jason Ankeny, an Executive Editor of FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper and Jeff Drew, Senior Editor of The Journal of Accountancy, have concluded just that. A major shift toward mobile device procurement and usage has taken place in just a few years’ time. In parallel, development of mobile applications –programs designed to run on mobile equipment-- have also developed along a similar curve and timeline. As this explosion in development takes place, information security professionals struggle to stay ahead of new threats. Many companies have changed their respective policies to allow employees to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), which allows employees to connect to work information technology systems with their personal devices (Drew, 44). This presents a clear danger, as no company can monitor the information technology security of individual workers on their personal equipment. These devices make easier targets without the protection of enterprise firewalls, corporate anti-virus solutions, and controlled centralized storage. New technologies and business policy have steered business toward mobile device utilization, which in turn, have caused hackers to target smaller businesses with detached devices and applications in greater numbers. The result of these conditions is increasing sensitive data loss and that loss will only continue to grow in the future.
Applications have increased exponentially with the increase in the number of mobile devices. Hackers have responded to the surge in popularity of mobile devices by furiously designing malicious applications designed to attack those devices (Drew, 46). Apple and Android market apps have increased by the hundreds of thousands within the past few years. The apps are authored by a wide range of entities, from very large companies to individual software developers. Major app markets review apps prior to distribution, yet malicious apps have still been available for download periodically. Major markets are not the only place apps can be found though. Smaller venders can distribute apps virtually unchecked anywhere on the internet. How does that expose the average user? Trend Micro identified one million malicious and risky applications in the third quarter of 2013, surging from 425,000 at the beginning of the year (Ankany, 49). The exposure is quite substantial. Luckily, large companies that issue mobile devices generally employ some type of software control as added protection. Can the same be said for smaller companies without the money to invest in those controls? Would they even know if their equipment was hacked? One thousand small businesses surveyed by Office Depot and McAfee didn’t seem to know. Approximately 66% expressed confidence that their data and devices were secure and 77% said they were never...

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