Part 1 – How Cloud Apps Are Making Businesses More (and Less) Secure

Cloud Apps Security

Today, more than ever before, employees are working while on-the-go. The ease with which a worker can enjoy a coffee-café latte in one hand and click “send” with the other is made possible by the explosion of mobile devices and mobile cloud-based applications. According to IDC, more than 96.2 million mobile employees are taking advantage of the mobility offered by today’s technologies.

Cloud-based Apps and the Mobile-Worker

To best protect these users while mobile, companies need to change their security strategy.

Traditionally, businesses have invested heavily in securing their infrastructure and endpoints— the security of the data lies within the four walls.

These walls quickly become ineffective when using cloud-based apps. Your firewall and network monitoring solutions? Traffic flies right through. Endpoint software? On a phone? Even if AV companies had software to install, will your users even install it?

Last, migration to cloud apps makes passwords (and related authentication solutions) the key to any security strategy. A loss of a password to an attacker can be detrimental. Regardless of whether they are using laptops, tablets, or phones, employees are using passwords that need to be protected. Passwords have become the key battleground for cloud-enabled organizations.

Mobile Worker Attack Methods

We’ve seen a sharp increase in two types of attacks focused on mobile workers that are trying to steal credentials. In addition, mobile devices continue to be prime targets for Malware attacks.

Proximity-focused attacks: In this type of attack, a cybercriminal creates a fake wireless access point in a public area, such as an airport, in the hopes of tricking their victims into connecting. Mobile workers searching through the longlist of airport Wi-Fi options until they find one that doesn’t require a password may be susceptible to this attack method. Hackers will set up a fake network service in hopes a user will click on it, giving the attacker access to much of the sensitive information and credentials from the device.

Phishing attacks: With a phishing attack, a cyber-criminal usually generates a fake email pretending to be someone they’re not and requests money, passwords or account numbers to take over a victim’s finances, steal sensitive information or hold their account hostage until a ransom is paid. While mobile devices receive phishing attacks via email, they can also receive them from text messages, communications apps, social media and practically anywhere a mobile device can receive a message. This not only increases the number of phishing attacks on mobile devices but the susceptibility of users falling victim to this type of attack.

Malvertising and malware attacks: We have observed a sharp increase in attackers buying malicious ads and getting them placed on high-traffic websites. These ads find Vulnerabilities in browser software and then exploit the system to install ransomware or more persistent malware. According to Nokia’s global Threat Intelligence Report, 2016 saw the highest level of mobile device malware infections since 2012 with smartphone malware infections rising nearly 400 percent.

The explosion of mobile workers is pushing companies to develop cloud-based security for their mobile devices. In the next article, I’ll talk about what those security strategies should look like.

By Todd O’Boyle

Patrick Joggerst

Payments Companies Will Always See ROI on Embedded Real Time Communications

ROI on Embedded Real Time Communications Without secure, real time communications applications, the financial services industry could literally come to a standstill. While transactions are driven by data, the human voice and human messaging continues ...
Signal Messenger: How to Successfully Resist Wiretapping Attempts

Signal Messenger: How to Successfully Resist Wiretapping Attempts

Successfully Resist Wiretapping Attempts Against the backdrop of events in the US, the popularity of the Signal secure messenger has grown sharply - from 6,000 to 26,000 downloads per day. This software uses strong cryptography ...
Gary Taylor

5 Reasons Why Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Will Go Mainstream Post 2020

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Growth Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology enables remote users to access their desktop from anywhere using an internet connection. This technology has been around for a couple of decades but never received ...
Jim Fagan

Submarine Fiber Life Extension: Bridging The Cloud Capacity Shortage

Submarine Fiber Life Extension There has been no lack of media attention given to the fact that Big Tech is building private subsea cables. Big cloud providers like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have invested ...
Nik Thumma Contributor

Why It’s Time for Companies to Move ‘All-In’ on the Cloud

Companies to Move ‘All-In’ on the Cloud The cloud offers businesses innovative ways to optimize operations and achieve amazing results. While many companies have already migrated to the cloud in some capacity, the full scope ...
Mark Barrenechea

The Digital Era Moves Into The Information Era

We have entered the Information Era Building on the groundwork of automation, connectivity and computing power that defined digital, the Information Era is characterized by our unprecedented ability to capture, store and make sense of ...