Wandera is committed to helping our partners stay in the know about the latest trends in mobile security. A key component of this initiative is to provide you with clear, concise insights you can pass on to your customers as you educate them on the importance of mobile security.

At the end of the day, the biggest issue in this space is an overall lack of awareness. Together, we can only help protect customers who understand the vast range of threats they face today and, more importantly, the potential impacts of these threats.

Below are insights on some of the most pressing mobile cyber threats. Keep an eye out for our next edition, in which we’ll cover some of the most common usage-based risks and how they can be managed. We hope you’ll find this helpful when talking to your customers about how they can secure their devices, information and people.

Phishing attacks are on the rise

While the term ‘phishing’ still calls to mind email scams, the threat has evolved well beyond traditional tactics, with 83% of successful mobile phishing attacks now taking place outside of email. As cybercriminals continue using channels like SMS, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other popular platforms, unsuspecting users are increasingly falling victim to these attacks and putting their personal and organizational information and assets at risk. Mobile users are now 18 times more likely to click on a phishing link than they are to encounter mobile malware.

According to Wandera’s 2019 Mobile Threat Landscape, 57% of organizations have experienced a mobile phishing incident. Even more concerning, 90% of data breaches start with a phishing attack.

Along with the increase in quantity of phishing attacks, there has been a significant increase in the quality of phishing attacks. Apple and Google are taking several steps to enhance the security of their devices and operating systems. As a result, hackers are turning more and more to social engineering techniques and taking the time to research their targets’ behavior to create convincing attacks. This is evident in the rise of spear phishing, where attacks are more personalized to the target victim and often indistinguishable from actual communications from well-known brands.

spear phishingWandera’s multi-level approach stops phishing before it can reach a network, ensuring that users are not the first (or the only) line of defense.

Unencrypted connections are widespread

According to Wandera research, 70% of Wi-Fi sessions on enterprise mobile devices occur over unencrypted connections. What exactly does this mean? As workers become increasingly mobile, be it working remotely or while traveling, many are connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. More often than not, these networks are unsecured, opening up connected users to attacks. With airports, trains, buses, cafés, restaurants, bars and even gyms offering free Wi-Fi, it’s easy to see why open network connections are so prevalent.

Wi-Fi hotspots are an enticing attack vector for cybercriminals to exfiltrate data from enterprise mobile devices. For a minimal cost, an attacker can obtain equipment advanced enough to set up their own hotspot, known as a “rogue hotspot.” These rogue hotspots often use copycat SSIDs that a user would expect to see in relevant locations, such as ‘Coffee Shop Wi-Fi’ or ‘Airport Free Wi-Fi.’ More than half of all organizations (55%) have at least one user who connected to a risky hotspot in the last month, according to Wandera research.

When an app sends unencrypted user information, the first barrier for a hacker is already removed. When the Wi-Fi network is also unencrypted, the hacker is free to parse through traffic and capture all unencrypted information passing through the network. This is known as a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack.

How a man-in-the-middle attack works

mitm

To detect a risky hotspot, organizations need a technology like Wandera that can inspect certificates, the location of SSIDs and whether they use encryption. Users can’t be expected to know the difference between what is real and what is fake, so having a safety net in place is key.

What is mobile cryptojacking and why is it growing so fast?

Cryptojacking burst onto the scene in late 2017, as the price of Bitcoin was booming and cybercriminals figured out that the processing-intensive act of mining for cryptocurrency was far less expensive if paid for by other (unsuspecting) people. The technique involves the use of scripts that run on web pages or in mobile apps, which are designed to harvest the processing power of a user’s device to mine for cryptocurrency.

Mobile is the perfect target for cryptojacking as modern devices possess powerful CPUs that are typically always on. The number of enterprise mobile devices connecting to cryptojacking sites and apps increased 287% in 2018, and one in four organizations have now encountered a cryptojacking attack.

cryptojacking

The impacts of cryptojacking attacks can vary. Individually, the amount of cryptocurrency extracted from each device tends to be relatively low, but when running on thousands of devices, it can become an extremely lucrative pursuit. Cryptojacking can be highly disruptive to devices, causing rapid battery drains and overheating, slowing down processors and making it impossible for users to complete simple, everyday functions.

Wandera prevents cryptojacking attacks in real time, ensuring that a company’s substantial investments in mobile aren’t taken hostage by cybercriminals.

For more information on the biggest trends in mobile security, check out our 2019 Mobile Threat Landscape report.