Exfiltrating User Data from Mobile Devices – What Cybercriminals Look For
Part 3 of a 3-part series focused on application, network and device-level mobile threats. This blog focuses on device-level mobile threats.
By Vivien Raoul, Chief Technology Officer for Pradeo
In our previous articles about application and network-related mobile threats, we observed that cybercriminals always look for innovative ways to breach an organizations’ data. Recently, new threats such as leaky applications, smishing and zero-day malware have emerged and gained ground as popular attack methods. Enterprise mobility is facing these sophisticated threats and warding them off has become challenging for security leaders.
In this post, we focus on the techniques used to exploit mobile devices’ vulnerabilities and offer how organizations can potentially prevent these type of attacks.
Outdated OS exploit – the most widely-used attack at the device-level
Researchers discover vulnerabilities in operating systems on a regular basis. When that happens, mobile device operating system manufacturers such as Apple and Google quickly develop and release security patches to be deployed to users through OS updates. Once updated, vulnerabilities detected in previous versions of the operating system are typically publicly disclosed.
In October 2018, the Pradeo Lab observed that 90% of Android devices and 50% of iOS devices used in the workplace (BYOD and COPE) run outdated OS versions. Most mobile users don’t install updates as soon as they are available, potentially causing their mobile device to be more prone to a malicious attack and endangering the data that lives or is processed on the mobile device. Cybercriminals target outdated devices to exploit their disclosed vulnerabilities. This type of attack can lead to system takeover and major data breach as it provides perpetrators with extended rights into the mobile device, enabling them to steal and tamper with data, to perform denial of service, and more.
Setting modification – not as innocuous as we may think
Mobile devices are typically set up to ensure basic protection for users. By default, some functionality, such as the installation of untrusted certificates or the modification of host files, are disabled to ensure that malicious content isn’t accessed. However, in order to extend their rights, some users change their device default settings, thus exposing their data to the threats potentially featured by untrusted websites and applications. This ultimately increases their device’s exposure to Man-In-The-Middle attacks.
Root / Jailbreak exploit – found the most in IT staff
6% of IT employees use a rooted or jailbroken device, compared to only 0.1% in other services. By deeply modifying their smartphones’ OS in order to benefit from extra features, these users expose their devices to malicious and intrusive applications. 75.1% of mobile apps automatically check the root / jailbreak status of devices to execute specific commands. This practice weakens a device’s resistance to attacks and puts personal and corporate data at risk.
Pradeo Security and VMware Workspace ONE – help prevent app, network and device-level attacks
Pradeo Security leverages Artificial Intelligence principles such as machine learning and deep learning to enable its engine with the most precise mobile threat detection. Relying on these capabilities, Pradeo Security Mobile Threat Defense accurately identifies known, unknown and advanced mobile threats operating at the application, the network and the device-level, defending against threats before they do any harm. Once activated through, Pradeo Security provides fast, appropriate and proactive threat management directly from the VMware Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) console.
Interested in learning more about Pradeo Security integration with Workspace ONE?