A Fresh Look at Malware and Mobile Threat Prevention

It goes without saying that in IT security, there’s an ever-looming threat of malware. Threats come in all shapes and sizes, and they can cause serious damage if left unaddressed.

That’s where mobile threat prevention (MTP) comes into play. There isn’t just one app that will take care of everything. In most cases, a complete solution is required to manage and secure devices, users, apps and networks.

Mobile Threats Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Malware threats come without warning and can wreak havoc on an environment. If a user’s device or information is compromised, he or she may have to wait for IT to rectify the issue. Part of the waiting process is determining which type of threat is causing harm.

Read the white paper: Mobile is the New Playground for Thieves

Below are some common threat vectors attackers use to infiltrate corporate networks:

  • Ransomware, which takes control of devices, data and resources, and blocks access;
  • SMS listeners, which monitor text message activity and collect personal information;
  • Phishing attacks, or attempts to gather sensitive information by posing as a trusted source;
  • Rogue Wi-Fi, or malicious hot spots that are actually unsecured Wi-Fi networks; and
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MtiM) attacks in which threat actors eavesdrop on communications to capture data or modify messages to steal information.

Embracing a Broad Approach to Mobile Threat Prevention

Mobile threat prevention helps organizations protect devices, apps, users and content from malicious attacks. Security teams can combat these threats by leveraging an app that scans devices and configurations within the network, or by setting up security protocols in case malware is present on the network. The best strategy is to be proactive so security professionals can swiftly defang malware that finds its way onto a corporate device or network.

The main advantage of mobile threat prevention is that it allows organizations to detect, analyze and remediate malware on mobile devices. MTP tools provide advanced jailbreak (iOS), root (Android) and hider detection with over-the-air (OTA) updates for security definitions pulled from a continuously updated database. Administrators can set security policies and compliance rules to automate remediation, improving the security of both personal and corporate-owned devices.

Once the threat has been determined, the security team must stop it in its tracks before it spreads. Ideally, the team could use just one app to address all threats, but a single-pronged approach can only cover so much ground. It’s best to take a broad approach to device, user and network security.

Don’t Fall for Snake Oil

Organizations need a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution that offers mobile threat management. Rather than offering just one application to take care of a fraction of threats, a UEM tool can monitor devices and how they report to the environment. If anything deemed malicious is present, the administrator is notified to take the necessary precautions.

When considering a UEM solution with MTP, security leaders should look for tools that enable them to:

  • Use a near real-time compliance rules engine to automate remediation.
  • Alert users when malware is detected and automatically uninstall infected apps.
  • View device threat attributes in the console and review audit history.
  • Use detection logic updated over the air without app updates.

IBM MaaS360 with Watson offers MTP that integrates with IBM Trusteer and leverages cognitive capabilities to alert the administrator of existing and potential threats. This way, the admin can rest easy knowing that the network of devices, users, apps and documents is secured and threats are minimized.

Read the white paper: Mobile is the New Playground for Thieves

Dan Cheuvront

MaaS360 Product Marketing Professional, IBM

Dan's career has been primarily IT-based, starting at Apple Inc. as a Mac Genius, moving on to Flextronics, and is now...