Is your mobile phone at risk of being attacked or hijacked? In a word, yes. In fact, University of Cambridge researchers reported that 87% of all Android phones are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability, while Zimperium Labs discovered that 95% of Android devices can be hacked with a simple text message.
If you think you’re safe because you own an iPhone, then think again. In September 2020, 40 apps were pulled from the Apple store because they were infected with XcodeGhost, a form of malware designed to turn Apple devices into a large-scale botnet. The malware not only sneaked through Apple’s security defenses, but also was layered on top of legitimate apps, making it difficult to detect.
It gets worse. Check Point Research reported that cyberattacks targeting smartphones and other mobile devices rose by 50% in the first half of 2019 – the most-recent year data are available – compared to the previous year. This includes at least 1.6 million attacks targeting iOS devices.
The Threat is Real
Securing your mobile phone is more difficult than it seems, as hackers are continuously seeking to exploit mobile vulnerabilities. To make matters worse, state-backed hacking campaigns are now regularly targeting mobile devices to gather intelligence because smartphones are so easy to exploit.
Now, consider this: Plug a compromised smartphone into a USB port on your company’s network and the situation just escalated from a single infected mobile device to a full-scale network cyberattack.
So, how did we get here?
Unlike PCs, mobile phones rarely undergo regular updates to their operating systems. As a result, hackers can exploit the mobile phone security gap by infecting the phone with malware, including worms, viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs.
This allows hackers to take control of your phone’s hardware, including your microphone and camera. Once hackers gain access, they can steal valuable information from your device and install keyloggers to steal passwords, financial information, and more.
It’s not just your phone’s security gaps that pose a real threat; your phone’s web browser presents yet another vulnerability. It is well known that smartphone web browsers are prone to cyber threats, particularly when users save logins to websites – or do not sign out of websites – that contain malicious code.
How to Protect Your Network
The question, then, is not whether your mobile phone will eventually become a Petri dish of viruses; the question is when. With mobile devices prone to security gaps and cyberattacks against mobile devices on the rise, every employee’s smartphone must now be viewed as a potential weapon of mass destruction against you network.
To protect your organization, it is critical that you secure your computer and network ports. If employees, subcontractors, and vendors are unable to plug their smartphones into your computer ports, then you reduce the chance of malware infections, data breaches, and more. USB port locks, network module locks, LAN cable locks, and secure USB hubs for your attached USB devices are inexpensive devices that effectively prevent an innocent-looking smartphone from becoming the source of a catastrophic cybersecurity