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The head of the National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, has recently warned that the threat of a major cyber attack on the UK is imminent, stating that the UK would be lucky to come to the end of the decade without a ‘category one attack’. This warning should serve as a catalyst for businesses and organisations throughout the UK to take a serious and detailed look at their current cyber security, and ensure that all necessary precautions are put in place to reduce their risk of attack as well as an effective disaster recovery plan should the worst happen.
An aspect that many business owners and managers overlook when considering their cyber attack vulnerabilities is that of their mobile phones. It has been a misconception for many years that the threat of cyber attacks for mobile phones is considerably less, however serious mobile malware attacks have been a prominent threat to mobile since 2011. In fact, the first quarter of 2017 alone saw 1.5 million new incidents of mobile malware attacks, according to research.
With a significant number of people using mobile devices for work, it is essential that mobiles are adequately protected from cyber attacks. Below we explore the steps business owners and managers can take to reduce their risk of a mobile cyber attack.
Effective passcodes and passwords
First and foremost, mobile users should have their security passcode switched on within their device and use a complex pin, both of which will provide a first line of defence in cases of loss or theft. Apps which contain sensitive data should also be protected with an adequate password, which should be changed regularly.
Public Wi-Fi network
Mobile users should approach public wi-fi networks with caution as, without the appropriate encryption, devices may be vulnerable to hacking. Many smartphones provide the option for users to auto-connect to available wi-fi networks, which again should be used with caution. This is a great feature to connect to a home wi-fi connection, but automatically connecting to a suspect network could present significant security issues.
Choosing the right phone can reduce the risk to cyber attack, phones with hardware based encryption often provide a higher level of protection than those with purely software encryption.
Keep operating system up to date
Phone manufacturers and app developers are continually updating the software they offer to users, not only to improve user experience but to improve the security of a device. It is essential therefore, that mobile devices are operating on the most current operating system or version of an app.
There are many fantastic options on the market for security software for mobile phones. Our technology partner, Sophos offer their own mobile security package for users that will detect malicious malware on a device, amongst many other features.
Educate staff on email security
Understanding adequate email security is essential for any business, organisation or individual across all devices. Therefore, we highly recommend that businesses take the time to educate staff on appropriate email security, how to spot a suspect email and what to do if they receive one of these emails.
Turn off Bluetooth
Mobile users should only have their Bluetooth switched on when absolutely necessary, keeping it on when not using it can present an opportunity for your phone to be hacked and your data to be accessed.
If you are unsure that your business mobile phones are adequately protected from potential cyber attacks, contact the team at MWL Systems for our expert advice and guidance.