Mobile technology has created a world of nomads. In days of yore one would take time to get all necessary inoculations against exotic infections before setting off into the unknown. Today’s digital nomad, often travelling with the mobile device they use at work, needs to be just as pragmatic.
The recent WireLurker bug showed how vulnerable mobile devices can be when carried abroad. Apple’s supposedly malware-resistant mobile OS met its match on the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party Mac application store in China, ostensibly approved by Apple and selling iOS downloads in the hundreds of thousands.
WireLurker was used to trojanize 467 OS X applications, which were downloaded over 356,104 times in six months, and may have impacted hundreds of thousands of users.
Whether on business travel, holiday or just looking for reliable Wi-Fi in an airport lounge, today’s digital vagabond shuttles from country to country, office to client site, home to coffee shop, popping on and off a myriad of mobile broadband and other wireless networks multiple times a day.
It’s fair to say that roaming workers need to be conscious of differing security issues in the countries where they travel on business or pleasure. The potential for data loss or the leaking of sensitive business information when travelling is too great to ignore. Our own research shows that whilst 50 per cent of the British public feel safe using a smartphone, 70 per cent of devices are typically transmitting sensitive data of some kind.
That’s bad news for organizations who cumulatively spend billions trying to protect their networks from outside threats, only to have leaky apps and mobile malware risks walk through the defensive perimeter by employees carrying them on their mobile devices. Along with dodgy app stores there is the longstanding concern about public Wi-Fi as a vector of infection.
Businesses require a new approach to deal with the changing mobile threat landscape. Fragmented, piecemeal security simply will not do anymore. Existing security solutions do not go far enough or deep enough to protect your organization.