What is mobile device security?

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What is mobile device security?

Mobile security includes strategies, security architecture, and applications used to safeguard any portable device such as iPhones, Android phones, laptops, and tablets. This type of security includes measures to help enhance cybersecurity for mobile devices to protect users and organizations from data breaches. Holistic mobile device security will not only keep data on local devices secure but focuses on protecting device-connected endpoints and network hardware.

Why is mobile security important for protecting your business?

In 2022, one in three organizations are compromised due to a mobile device. As more businesses adopt hybrid work models and integrate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, strengthening your company’s mobile device security has never been more important as your attack surface grows. Unlike desktops which are immobile, mobile devices are susceptible to both physical and virtual compromise. Mobile devices run the risk of physical theft or loss of the device as well as virtual attacks from third-party application threats and Wi-fi security breaches.

Check out Malwarebytes Mobile Security for Personal Devices.

How does mobile device protection work?

Mobile device protection has many benefits which include helping your organization meet regulatory compliance, enforce security policies, support BYOD culture, facilitate application control and data backup practices. Mobile device security can be broken down into 3 key areas: application, network, and OS protection.

Application protection

Malware can be produced and distributed in the form of harmful apps that users unknowingly install on their devices. Mobile security solutions should be able to detect and prevent the installation of harmful apps. Application control and app blockers are other methods of application security that help reduce the risk of users downloading malicious apps.

Network security

At the network level, mobile devices and the legitimate apps that operate on them are a target. Phishing attacks and other types of cyber intrusions involve cybercriminals who use network connectivity to circumvent traditional security layers to steal sensitive data or transmit malicious content. Blocking these attacks at the network-level is a component of mobile security.

Protecting operating systems

iOS and Android operating systems can have exploitable software bugs or vulnerabilities that can be used by bad actors or malware to jailbreak devices. This grants an attacker enhanced permissions on the device, hence breaching its security model. Mobile device security allows businesses to assess their inherent risk in real-time and can incorporate technologies to detect device vulnerability exploitation.

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Best practices and how to secure mobile devices for your organization

Mobile device protection is a multi-layered security approach consisting of 6 best practices to reduce the risk of mobile device cyber intrusion, protect portable endpoints, and safeguard physical portable hardware.

What can your company do to reduce the risk of mobile device compromise?

Let’s dive into the preventative steps your business can take to strengthen mobile device security.

Implementing clear policies and processes

Through establishing mobile device security rules and policies, security leaders and teams can work towards reducing your risk of compromise for your company. Comprehensive mobile device rules should incorporate clear policies that specify what devices are permitted, what your organization should or should not have access to on personal cellphones, whether IT staff can remotely wipe devices, and password protection requirements.

Diligent security training and education

Developing consistent and easy to follow security training exercises helps educate employees on methods to safeguard mobile devices, both within the digital landscape and day-to-day life out in the world. Instilling strong mobile security culture keeps your organization vigilant, reducing your risk of cyber intrusion, and keeping physical mobile devices safe from theft and loss. This includes keeping your company's mobile data secure and considering tools such as dns blocking to keep employees off of harmful websites.

Limiting or avoiding public Wi-Fi

All networks are not created equal in terms of cybersecurity. Your mobile device is only as secure as the network which it is operating on. Although convenient, public Wi-Fi is a host for malware, viruses, and worms. Educating your employees on the dangers of public Wi-Fi networks is integral to maintaining network visibility across mobile attack surfaces. Your company’s best defense is to assume all public Wi-Fi is not secure. Learn more about how to use a VPN (virtual private network) to secure your connection anywhere.

Strong password protection

IT security should consider the frequency of required password updates for their users. How to create a strong password? As cybersecurity advocates, your security leaders can set clear rules for password creation. From character count to numbers and symbols, passwords should be memorable enough for the user without resembling any obscure patterns, shared themes, or coherent phrases.

Consider mobile app security

Being able to block the execution or deployment of harmful apps protects your employees from unknowingly downloading unauthorized software which can allow adversaries into your network and data. Application blocking (also known as app blockers) is a method used in application control that involves blacklisting known applications from executing or installing.

Mobile device encryption

Most mobile devices include an encryption option that is built in. To encrypt their device, users must locate this function on their device and input a password. This technique converts data into a code that only authorized users can access. Device encryption is most useful in the event of theft and prevents unauthorized access.

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Mobile Security FAQs

Yes, public Wi-Fi is not automatically secure. Connecting your endpoint device to public networks can spread harmful malware, ransomware, and other virus infections. Learn more about WiFi security: 101.

The best security for mobile devices encorporates a holistic approach. This includes mobile device security solutions coupled with resources to help educate and train your team on digital and physical mobile security best practices.

Mobile devices are vulnerable to theft or loss, as well as virtual attacks from third-party application risks and Wi-Fi security breaches. Enhancing your company's mobile protection can help you meet compliance standards.

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