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Phishing, Smishing, Man-In-The-Middle… How Cybercriminals Exploit The Network To Compromise Mobile Devices And How To Prevent Those Attacks

Part 2 of a 3-part series focused on application, network and device-related mobile threats. This article focuses on network threats.

By Vivien Raoul Chief Technology Officer for Pradeo

Last month, as we set the stage of this 3-part blog series with our first part focusing on app-related mobile threats, we observed that enterprise mobility has increased the amount of devices across organizations. This typically results in a larger mobile attack surface that generates more interest from cybercriminals.

Smartphones and tablets can be compromised at the application, network, or device level. In this post, we’ll analyze the most common network threats targeting mobile collaborators identified by the Pradeo Intelligence center and recently discussed in our mobile security report.

Beware Of Unsecured Wifi And Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

The number of public WiFi hotspots worldwide has multiplied by 3x since 2016 and is forecast to reach 542 million hotspots in 2021, according to a Statista study. These unsecured hotspots don’t require any password and are accessible to anyone.

Meanwhile, organizations are leveraging mobility for higher productivity, as 63% of them are giving employees the ability and freedom to work remotely, according to an Upwork study. As a result, more employees are getting connected outside the office via unprotected networks, exposing corporate data in the process. As such, the acceleration of mobility in the last few years has contributed to an increase of network attacks, such as Man-In-The-Middle attacks.

A Man-In-The-Middle attack happens when communication between two parties is intercepted or altered by an outside entity. Cybercriminals perpetrate this attack through unprotected WiFi hotspots or by using IP, ARP or DNS spoofing, in order to intercept data.


Phishing And Smishing Attacks On The Rise

Although mostly targeting computers until a few years ago, phishing attacks are the 2nd most detected network threat on mobile devices in 2018.

The phishing technique traps mobile users into clicking on malicious links, opening infected files or downloading malware from emails (sent from spoofed email addresses) or SMS (smishing). This attack’s purpose is also to steal sensitive data.

The rise in phishing can be explained by the fact that it is an inexpensive technique that can simultaneously target a vast amount of people. As phishing messages and techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, this kind of attack is, unfortunately, very effective.

Usually, cybercriminals monetize from the data they steal by selling it on the dark web. It is now common to find websites reselling corporate data on this part of the web. The market behind the resale of corporate data is very lucrative and drives the number of cyber attacks targeting companies.


Screenshot taken from the dark web

How Pradeo Security and VMware Workspace ONE Protect Mobile Devices from Network Attacks

Pradeo Mobile Threat Defense  relies on a patented Artificial Intelligence engine that detects mobile threats coming from applications, the network and the device. By performing real-time on-device analysis, Pradeo Security identifies all kind of network threat ranging from the most widespread to the less common ones (Man-In-The-Middle, phishing, rogue access point, risky WiFi, etc.).

Combined with VMware Workspace ONE, powered by AirWatch, Pradeo Security provides fast, appropriate and proactive mobile threat management.

Get more details on the Pradeo integration with Workspace ONE by visiting pradeo.com, the VMware Marketplace or by watching our joint webinar.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Device threats next month!

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