Mobile apps are dominating the current business strategies which are focusing more on digitization and mobility. In today's digital world where time to market is everything, enterprises usually approach third party mobile app vendors for app development which will be used for in-house purposes only. A third party mobile app serves a variety of business operations like emails, calendar, invoice generation, payment processing, etc.
On the other hand, employees are becoming more tech savvy and using 3rd party applications at workplaces. This puts both the enterprise and users at risk with mobile security and privacy threats becoming a major challenge for the IT departments.
Here are the top hidden dangers of using a third party mobile app at workplaces:
Mobile Malware is on the rise
Kaspersky Lab released its latest quarterly threat evolution report for the third quarter of this year which showed that over 300,000 new mobile malware programs were detected, a 10.8 percent increase over Q2. This shows that the global threat landscape is evolving at a fast pace as malicious programs are on the rise.
Even though Apple iOS is less vulnerable to malware as compared to Android, but two significant malware - XcodeGhost and YiSpecter were reported in September and October. These were found in mobile apps distributed through the iTunes App Store.
When employees use a third party mobile app, they are vulnerable to threats on the network level as well. Even though most enterprise networks are secure, it might not be necessary that the networks employees get connected to, outside of the office are secure enough. App users are prone to man-in-the-middle attacks and Wi-Fi sniffing if connected to unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
Emerging Attack Techniques
With the increase in the adoption of devices and third party apps in the corporate networks, cyber criminals have changed their attention and focus towards these companies. The main intention of these cyber attacks is to gain entry into enterprise data. Third party apps are easily exploitable and they become a weak link in the cyber security chain. These apps developed by third-party developers and partners are being targeted, with access to trusted services that deal with sensitive data, including employee information, strategic business plans, and enterprise data.
The vulnerability detection tools used by criminals are becoming more advanced and automated. These new attack techniques include:
- Exploitation of mobile and app vulnerabilities with insecure API access.
- Stealing of sensitive data cached by apps that don’t follow security best practices.
- Gaining unauthorized access of developer keys and credentials through social engineering of developers.
How To Keep Yourself Safe While Using Third Party Apps
Although all these incidents make mobile security a critical affair, one can overcome these challenges by:
- Using mobile security testing tools like Appknox for whitelisting the mobile apps used in enterprises.
- Public Wi-Fi networks should be avoided, as they are insecure and vulnerable to malicious sniffing. Companies must develop acceptable user policies, provide VPN technology, and ensure that users connect through these secure channels.
- Encourage users to install anti-malware by Avast, AVG, BitDefender, Kaspersky, Sophos, Symantec (Norton), or TrendMicro, on their devices that can offer an extra layer of protection.