What Your Employees Need to Know About Mobile Malware

We’ve written before about the rise of mobile malware and things you can do to protect yourself. One point that bears repeating is that your employees are your first line of defense. Teach your employees the best ways to avoid mobile malware and how to recognize that their device may be infected with mobile malware.

Warn Employees About These Dangerous Practices

The best way for employees to protect their devices against malware is for them to be cautious about what they do with their device. Remind your employees about the dangers of these practices:

  1. Jailbreaking. Jailbreaking or rooting a device to gain access to the underlying operating system disables many built-in security features and makes devices more vulnerable to malware.
  2. Downloading suspicious apps. To avoid apps that carry dangerous malware, employees should only download apps from trusted sites—either your corporate app store or the trusted mobile vendor’s app store.
  3. Giving apps unneeded permissions. Many apps ask for more permissions than are needed to perform their function. Teach employees to pause and think for a moment before granting permission. If an app can’t function with more permissions than seem like they should be necessary, they should consider not using the app.
  4. Clicking on unknown links. Phishing messages are a threat to security whether you read them on your desktop computer or your phone. Remind users about the risks of clicking on links in emails, especially links to sites that contain sensitive information.
  5. Using insecure Wi-Fi. Employees should never use insecure public wi-fi to access corporate data.
  6. Ignoring prompts to update the operating system. Too many users repeatedly click on “remind me later” when asked if they want to install the latest operating system. Failing to install those updates means failing to apply the latest security patches on their device.
  7. Choosing convenience over security. While disabling lock screens or allowing applications to display notices on lock screens is convenient, these practices risk exposing information to unauthorized users.

Employees Should Check Their Devices for Suspicious Behavior

In addition to teaching employees safe mobile computing practices, teach them how to check whether their device is infected:

  1. If your device is running slowly, check which apps are running. If an unfamiliar app is running, delete it immediately.
  2. Keep an eye on your battery. Decreased battery life can indicate malware running in the background.
  3. Keep an eye on your bill. Malware can result in increased bills due to additional data usage or SMS messages sent at premium rates.

You can use your intrusion prevention system (IPS) and firewalls to identify issues on mobile users’ devices when they connect to your in-office Wi-Fi. Make sure your systems are configured to generate alerts of unsafe mobile usage. If you’re paying your employees’ mobile bills, you can put limits on SMS spending with their telecom carrier to generate alerts as well.

Prescient Solutions offers a full range of mobile IT consulting and managed services to businesses in Chicago and Schaumburg. Our experts will help you develop and implement an effective strategy that empowers your employees to work on mobile devices while protecting your business assets. Contact us to learn more about mobile services from Prescient Solutions.

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