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Enterprise Mobile Application Security Threats Landscape

August 16, 2022
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The enterprise mobile application security threats landscape is growing larger year over year. Increased enterprise mobility, meaning allowing access to the organization's network from a remote location, results in a growing variety of unprotected endpoints vulnerable to outside attacks. To gain a better understanding of the threats landscape revolving around enterprise mobile application security, ASEE discusses the four main threat categories in today's cyber security environment.

The enterprise mobile application security threats landscape is growing larger year over year. Increased enterprise mobility, meaning allowing access to the organization's network from a remote location, results in a growing variety of unprotected endpoints vulnerable to outside attacks. To gain a better understanding of the threats landscape revolving around enterprise mobile application security, ASEE discusses the four main threat categories in today's cyber security environment.

Enterprise mobile application security threats

1. Device-side security threats

Enterprises nowadays have a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy in place.  It allows the employees to use their personal mobile devices to install enterprise apps or connect them to the office network.  By doing so, mobile devices automatically become a potential weak endpoint exposing the organization to external threats.

The threats personal mobile devices carry range from insecure mobile apps, too few restrictions regarding applications accessing the data stored on the device, as well as OS vulnerabilities.  A malicious app installed on the user's phone can easily harvest credentials used to connect to the organization's network.  These are just some of the examples of how a mobile device can be a potential threat to an enterprise's security infrastructure.  Educate your employees about the threats and consequences a cyberattack can cause.

Implementing access control and multi-factor authentication for user access proves to be of great help in reducing the attack potential.  A comprehensive record of blacklisted mobile applications that carry security vulnerabilities is also a good idea.  Reminders about the latest OS updates and additional notifications that nudge the employees to update their mobile devices may sound like overkill – until a data breach occurs.

Educating your employees about the threats and consequences of a cyberattack is a step in the right direction.  However, it's the enterprise's responsibility to build a solid security infrastructure and procedures to minimize the attack potential.

Threats:

Physical threats; lost or stolen device

Poor encryption

Weak authentication

OS updates

2. Application-side security threats

Enterprises that use own applications must be aware of the threats that come with them.  Unsecured databases with poor encryption, flawed authentication mechanisms, and insufficient or no access control are some of the most common causes of a data breach.

Reverse engineered mobile applications that imitate legitimate applications are present as well.  By mimicking the look and feel of legitimate applications, these malicious apps lure users into downloading them. However, their only purpose is to steal sensitive information such as login credentials and financial data.

One in 36 mobile devices has a high-risk app installed.

Hooking and debugging are popular methods of injecting the mobile application with malicious code. The scenarios vary from espionage to stealing confidential information. Screen recording, typical for iOS, is another threat to keep in mind.

To mitigate application-related risks, implement a security mechanism that protects your app at runtime.  RASP, Runtime Application Self-Protection, is an additional security layer that tracks the behavior of the application in real-time. It has the capacity to detect and prevent potential attacks.  By customizing the threat response, you're in control of the application execution and are equipping your enterprise with a proactive mobile application security solution.

Threats:

Jailbroken/rooted devices

Reverse engineering

Hooking attacks

Debuggers

Screen recording

Poor encryption

Insecure application code

3. Network-side security threats

Employees are no strangers to connecting their mobile devices to public Wi-Fi.  Without an added security layer, the mobile device is left vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.  Combined with weak or no end-to-end encryption at all, the data stored on the mobile device could be easily targeted by a hacker.  Fake Wi-Fi set up by hackers, also known as network spoofing, is a great way of baiting unsuspecting users to connect to free Wi-Fi.  What follows is the user submitting their login credentials for a particular service, and the hacker in charge of the fake Wi-Fi is in possession of sensitive data.

Threats:

Network spoofing

Man in the Middle attacks

Poor end-to-end encryption

4. User/employee-side security threats

The fact that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by a human error leads us to the user-side threats. Bad actors within the organization, whether they have malicious intentions or are simply negligent, account for 43% of all data breaches.

Around 81% of the worldwide workforce faced at least one complete or partial shutdown of the workplace due to a cyberattack.  Cases of data breaches out revenge are becoming a common scenario.  Laid-off employees can easily gain access to company databases and cause significant damage.  One such case involved deleting the entire database containing shipment information.  This caused significant delays in the delivery process – and to spice things up – the product in question was personal protective equipment in the middle of the pandemic.

Negligence also comes with a high price.  High volumes of phishing emails circulating through inboxes are the number one cause of endangering organizations.  Employees with insufficient knowledge in terms of security best practices are an easy target and the low-hanging fruit for hackers who are swift with phishing scams.

In 2021, nearly 40 percent of breaches featured phishing, around 11 percent involved malware, and about 22 percent involved hacking.

Phishing emails, which are usually requiring urgent action from the employee, trick the user into clicking a malicious link and disclosing confidential information to the bad actor.

Threats:

Bad internal actors

Negligent employees

Enterprise mobile application security suite by ASEE

Mobile App Security Powered by App Protector

App Protector is a RASP security technology integrated into the application's runtime environment. The solution is capable of controlling application execution, detecting early intrusion, and preventing real-time attacks. The end goal of App Protector is to protect all of the application's stakeholders; owners, developers, and the app's end-users. App Protector detects threats present within the device on which the application is installed, alerts, and neutralizes those threats. If an anomaly is detected, App Protector responds in one out of three ways:

  • Generates false response values so that the attackers are presented with false data, making them unable to continue the application misuse.
  • Notifies the end-user of the application about a potential threat.
  • Terminates the app immediately after detecting an anomaly.

It comes in two modes: offline and online. The offline mode offers configuration which is hardcoded, while the online mode comes with a portal enabling configuration customization in the form of selecting a wanted response for the individual security threat. App Protector is successful at detecting and preventing mobile app threats. This includes jailbreaking/rooting, debugging, emulator attacks, hooking, and screen recording (for iOS).

Authenticato: Scalable Multi-Token Authentication Solution to Suit Your Business Needs

Authenticato is a multi-token authentication solution providing the user with multi-factor authentication functionalities. Conveniently packaged in a single mobile application, Autenticato is widely available for download on all respected application markets; Google Play Store, App Store, and Huawei App Gallery. The solution is specifically designed to comply with the strongest security mechanisms technologically available, taking into consideration the usage of different mobile platforms, as well as user satisfaction and acceptance.

The motivation behind designing Authenticato lies in providing the end-users with the highest security standards behind a user-friendly interface.  The authentication methods supported by Authenticato include OTP, push notification and QR code authentication.

Token provisioning is easily handled by scanning a QR code and entering an activation code.  The mobile application also enables different administration features for convenient token management:

•             Change token’s PIN;

•             Delete Token;

•             Enrollment  of  the  additional  token  to  a  new  mobile  device;

•             Migration   of   existing   token   to   another   mobile   device;

•             Authenticato application recovery in case of a lost mobile device.

App protector download datasheet

In case you're curious, feel free to contact us - zero obligation. Our ASEE team will be happy to hear you out.

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