Antivirus software has to be the single best thing a user can install to protect themselves. Sure there are spam filters, routers and web filters but what happens when these devices don’t stop a virus from coming through? You can never have enough protection from viruses such as malware, Trojan horses and worms. From my years of experience about half of the viruses I've encountered came from email the end user had accidentally opened. The other half have been from users that rely heavily on web searches, they end up clicking a link that turns out to contain a virus. With a lot of companies switching to cloud email and full cloud desktop deployments, antivirus sometimes gets overlooked. This month I am going to discuss mobile phone security for Android OS and the importance of keeping your mobile device safe.
Most end users are now using smart phones as their primary way of communicating with customers which, as an IT manager you have little control over. The problem with this is that the devices they are using might have some type of malware which could record all activity, eventually finding passwords to sensitive company data. With cloud email, your provider likely offers some type of antivirus protection but mobile devices often don’t have adequate protection.
Mobile malware on the rise
In 2014 we are going to see an increase in malware on smart phones according to the latest statistics from leading antivirus companies such as McAfee. They also stated that 97.5% of malware found was directed at Android devices so here is the breakdown. Mobile malware grew by 614% from March 2012 to March 2013. About 48% of the malware came from SMS Trojans, which get users to send text messages to numbers ran by cyber thieves. Another 29% came from fake installs, the remaining 19% came from Trojan Spy malware. Most companies have done a decent job at protecting workstations, servers and laptops but little has been done to secure smart phones as they connect to the internal network and save passwords for later use.
My intentions are not to scare users that something may be wrong or to ward off the use of the mobile devices. These devices offer countless benefits, it is just very important to make sure they are protected. There are few antivirus companies that offer malware protection for Android based devices since it is rare for malware to infect them, this is due to how it treats running programs (picture a sandbox with tall walls, that’s how apps run, in their own little space while having no access to other functions of the device). Most if not all malware comes in as the form of a rogue app. Downloading apps from a trusted source is not a guarantee that the apps are safe but using common sense goes a long way. For instance you download a music app and during the install it may ask you to give app permission to view and use contact and phone call lists. Thanks but no thanks, uninstall! Look and pay attention when installing apps, they can gain access to your information with the tap of a screen.
Top apps to keep you safe
While doing my research I found some apps that do a really good job at protecting Smartphone devices in case you may not be paying attention!
- A great app to look at is Avast mobile security, I use Avast on my personal laptop as well as using it to remove viruses off of customer machines when their virus protection, or lack thereof, did not work.
- The second one is 360 Mobile Security by Qihu 360 Software. This product has a slick interface and performs patching of the Android OS to ensure security. The only problem I see with this software is if you decide to uninstall, any patching of the OS you do will be deleted after you remove the program.
- The third product I find useful would be Comodo Mobile Security & Antivirus Free, Comodo has always had an excellent anti-malware engine and is very well known. The one feature that stood out to me is the private list. You can add/classify contacts or phone numbers to it. This way whenever you call or send a SMS to the people on your private list you have to enter a password first, pretty cool stuff!
- Another way to approach mobile security is through your cloud provider. At TOSS, for example, our Mobile Enterprise Suite has the appropriate strength of mobile device management, (MDM) based on the use case. Whether your needs are basic or require complete email containerization, TOSS’ MDM solutions provide everything any sized company requires for securing and implementing a BYOD strategy.
Well that’s it, I hope this helps you in your quest to stay secure online!
Written By: Pete Thornhill
TOSS C3 Engineer