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NowSecure Research Looks At Mobile Security & How To Manage It

February 11, 2016 - Written By Justin Diaz

Mobile security is more important than ever and in the world of business and enterprise, it’s the IT and security professionals who are tasked with ensuring that the mobile devices used by employees day in and day out are secure enough to access needed information relevant to the job. The issue with this, as pointed out by NowSecure in their latest report on mobile security, is that people generally want to use a number of varied applications to complete various tasks related to their jobs whether it be for communicating with colleagues or accessing data that might be needed to complete their tasks.

According to NowSecure’s report, many of today’s mobile devices are spread across a wide range when it comes to security, with many devices lacking the security that is usually present when IT or security professionals need to manage data for the companies they work for. On top of the lack of security from a wealth of devices that should be there for enterprise use, much of people’s mobile interaction is spent using apps, and just like all of the different devices available today, not all apps carry the same security standards to users. This presents another potential headache for IT and security professionals and a potential risk for enterprise. Through NowSecure’s gathered research data from their Vulnerability Test Suite application available on Google Play, (which tested 400,000 apps) the company was able to determine that 82 % of devices running on Android were at risk from at least one of twenty-five flaws that reside in the OS. According to a mobile app report from ComScore  last Fall, 87 percent of the time of mobile device use is spent interacting and engaging with applications. Another statistic gathered by Tech Pro Research from last year showed that 74 percent of businesses are considering letting employees use their personal mobile devices for work, know as BYOD or Bring Your Own Device.

The very reason NowSecure sees this as a risk is due to the inconsistency in security for devices as well as apps. According to NowSecure’s research, 10.8 percent of the 400,000 apps that were tested were found to leak sensitive data over the network, while 24.7 percent of apps tested were subjected to at least a single security flaw. Even higher still was the amount of apps found to send data like phone numbers, IMEI numbers call logs and more to an ad network. They also found that the most popular apps (labeled as popular if they have reached an excess of 1 million downloads or more) contained a total of 16,036 high-risk security problems, including a risk to the IMEI numbers, phone numbers, passwords, MAC addresses and more. While malware and viruses will likely always be a risk no matter the computing platform, NowSecure points out that at the current time, a higher risk lies within apps that leak sensitive data, and because of this, IT and security professionals should be looking to tackle mobile security with a different approach.