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The Main Types of Mobile Security Threats to Business, and How to Prevent Them

With smartphones as ubiquitous as ever, it’s unsurprising that they can be a crucial part of how certain businesses go about their duties. However, with the increase in employees using smartphones and tablets for work on the rise, it brings with it a new remit of security concerns, from unsecured networks to data loss.

Corporate breaches can affect a business dearly, and the threats that once were the preserve of computers have now set up shop on your phone. And, now that cyber criminals are targeting these handheld devices more often, you need to do more than merely use virus protection software – businesses need to be mindful of their mobile security practices in order to stay free from threats.

To help you keep abreast of your security, here are the main types of mobile security threats that could affect your business, along with how to prevent them from happening.

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The differing categories of mobile security threats

Rather than being one amorphous danger lurking in the deepest, darkest recesses of your phone, mobile security threats take many forms, such as:

Common mobile security threats

Malicious apps

Ever downloaded an app and been required to agree to a list of permissions before it’s yours? We’re guessing that you’ve just given them a cursory glance before moving on with the download. Unfortunately, this cavalier approach to fine print leaves devices and businesses open to threats. Even if the app works fine, the potential to harvest corporate data before sending it onto a third party is still there. At which point, sensitive product or business information has already been shared.

How can you prevent it?

If your employees are in the habit of downloading apps, then ask them to check the permissions request thoroughly. If the list of permissions seems too invasive, then it’s probably not worth downloading.


Both Android and iOS devices are targeted by threats that focus on mining user data and private corporate data. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, both operating systems were subject to attacks; Apple were forced to release a patch with updates to protect against the attacks, while Android users can use Google’s Play Protect to guard against future data breaches.

How can you prevent it?

Choose a mobile security app and make sure all of your employees download it onto their devices, and update their device software regularly to further safeguard things. Regular updates ensure their devices are protected against ever-developing spyware threats.

Public WiFi

With remote working on the up, access to unsecured WiFi is becoming more widely available in public places. Good news for those working from home, but bad news for businesses, who are now vulnerable to attacks sent through these networks.

This is because instead of connecting directly to a network, people are fooled into accessing a network that looks authentic but has been set up by a hacker who has connected to a company’s web server. Be wary of any network that asks you to create an account with a username and password to access it; these are usually phoney.

How can you prevent it?

Have employees create unique passwords for every new account they create when they use their mobile devices. Hackers assume people use the same password for everything, so employees should resist using one default login for their personal accounts.

Lack of end-to-end encryption

Skimping on security for mobile devices can create numerous problems in the long run. Considering the amount of information uploaded to apps, failing to put the necessary safeguards in place is something of a foregone conclusion. The lack of encryption, particularly on your communication apps, means that everyone is free to look at what’s being said or done in your company, hackers or not.

How can you prevent it?

Use communication apps that encrypt data transfers to ensure your communication with others can’t be accessed by anyone outside of the business. An encryption-based application can help in this area.

Lack of password protection

Even something as straightforward as not locking your phone with a password can create issues with security. If your device lacks a password, then it’ll be no problem to access the information should it fall into the wrong hands.

Often, when these passwords do exist, they’re so unimaginative that thieves can easily guess them after a few attempts. Common passwords like 1234, qwerty and the ever-popular password pose no challenge to people trying to access your a device. It’s imperative that users create a strong password that only they know.

How can you prevent it?

Should employees need to access the business’ data using their own devices, then make sure your identity access management requirements are easy to understand. Ensure that their passwords contain capitals, numbers or even special characters, and use 2-factor authentication if you need extra security.

Phishing attacks

Another common threat, phishing involves hackers sending what are ostensibly legitimate emails to get employees to hand over private information. This happens when cybercriminals do a “deep search” for the email addresses contained within your organisation. Any publicly available email addresses are then used to launch phishing attacks on as many employees as possible.

How can you prevent it?

Businesses need to have clear processes in place for employees to follow should they spot any red flags or suspicious activity.

Lost and stolen devices

Even with all the methods that hackers use and safeguards put in place at your end, you may end up falling victim to an old-fashioned theft. And since users tend to stay logged in on their device’s apps, thieves won’t have to figure out any passwords to unlock data.

How can you prevent it?

Luckily, most Android and Apple devices let users delete information remotely to avoid others illegally accessing it. Apple devices specifically have a Lost Mode, where the phone can be locked and tracked in the event that it goes missing.

For more of the latest news, guides and features from the CDL teamclick here to visit our blog. If you’d like to find out more about our IT disposal solutions, visit our homepage or call our team now on 0333 060 5623.

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