Most business owners understand the importance of protecting desktop and laptop computers but they often overlook the security of mobile devices. Whether they’re company owned or personal devices used for work, tablets and smartphones can pose a significant security risk to any organization. A case in point is the rising risk of mobile ransomware. According to security firm Kaspersky, the two most common forms of ransomware for desktop computers are cryptolockers—malware that encrypts the data already on a computer and agrees to remove the encryption for a fee—and blockers—a malicious program that takes control of an operating system or application until a ransom is paid, then returns control to the machine’s owner.
Mobile ransomware is a different animal, however, largely because most of the data these devices use are backed up to the cloud. Whereas cryptolockers are the preferred mode of attack for computers, blockers dominate in the mobile world. This threat is a major source of concern because at least 10 percent of business leaders are using mobile phones as their exclusive device for day-to-day operations. You don’t have to be a CEO to use a mobile device at work, though. Even users who are in the office most of the time still use smartphones and tablets to conduct at least some business-related work. Therefore, mobile devices need to be just as secure as any other hardware the business uses.
Mobile Ransomware is a Growing Problem
The number of mobile ransomware attacks shows no sign of slowing. In fact, Kaspersky asserts that the number of mobile attacks has quadrupled since 2014. In addition, the number of victims of these attacks has doubled, with the United States representing the main target. Businesses the world over now rely almost entirely on electronic documents and automated business processes—everything from customer relationship management software to automated accounting applications to supply chain management—making ransomware very big business, indeed. As a recent KSN report stated, “A company whose tax documentation, for example is encrypted with ransomware just before the deadline for submitting returns to the tax regulator, has no choice but to pay the ransom—and this is what criminals exploit.”
Protecting Yourself on the Go
There’s no question that mobile ransomware is a big and growing problem, but you can take action now to protect yourself and your business. In fact, three simple practices can go a long way toward keeping your data safe:
- Buy and download apps only from official sources, such as iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Store, which vet applications before posting them for download to member devices.
- Keep your mobile devices updated with current versions of the operating system and apps.
- Invest in a solid mobile security solution.
Mobile ransomware is relatively easy to prevent but extremely difficult to remove and recover from after it has been installed. Contact All Phases IT today to speak with one our experienced IT consultants. We’ll evaluate your current security and help you determine the best way to keep your company—and its data—safe.