All the frontliners in IT are seeing a wide scale of transformation. As we are entering the era of intelligent connectivity we are seeing ever more complex networks, both in the services they offer, in the use cases they will enable, and the range of technology used to build them. Not only will such networks be critical to economic and societal health they will also be attractive to attackers and it is important that the industry is motivated to identify and mitigate the threats. As the mobile technologies are playing a significant role in our leisure and work activities, the security technologies have become increasingly important in protecting private and enterprise confidential information. The mobile devices are always available and connected which separates them from other devices such as laptops. The device will connect to all kinds of networks; private and public Wi-Fi as well as 2G, 3G,4G and 5G cellular networks.
Some of the networks you may control and some you may trust but sometimes there are just things you cannot avoid such as lawful interception in some parts of the world that threatens the confidentiality of your network communications. The mobile telecommunications industry is under daily attack. The industry understands that no threat can be tackled in isolation, and that threat actors will continue to exploit vulnerabilities in deployed technologies to achieve their goal. The recent Stealth Mango and Tangelo campaigns used phishing to steal sensitive data on compromised Android and iOS devices along with remote access trojans DroidJack and SandroRAT Caller ID spoofing is one of the main threats that must be taken into account when receiving a cellular call, SMS or MMS as report by Beyond Security.
While well-funded actors have the capability to do attacks on core internet communications, even an average thug can eavesdrop a poorly configured Wi-Fi access point or set up one of their own to do traffic monitoring and tampering.
The day is not far when it is expected a major breach will happen on a mobile device. The reality is that mobile devices — just like all other enterprise endpoints — are where attack often starts, but rarely where they end. Mobile devices expose data “bread crumbs” (such as login credentials) that can lead hackers to data jackpots. Based on the latest mobile threat analytics, the mobile malware seems to be well off. For example, 6% of customers of a specific vendor reported malware infections and over 1.5 million new mobile malwares were discovered quarterly. The malware could be categorized to opportunistic and targeted types. The opportunistic malware aims to spread widely to gain profit from small streams of income.
Such targeted malware, also known as spyware, often comes with abundant ways of exploiting the victim such as tracing location, accessing the device’s microphones and video cameras as well as gathering information from apps. Unfortunately, unauthorized access to the device’s microphones and cameras, and even to the sensors 5, endangers also the people nearby through eavesdropping. Surprisingly, there is no silver bullet to mitigate all threats therefore it is desirable that there are multiple layers of defense in the device. This defense in depth approach makes the device more secure as compromising a layer does not compromise the whole system.
Installing malicious firmware to the device can be prevented by forcing secure boot on the device which prevents running any other firmware than the one cryptographically signed by the device manufacturer.