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When Purchasing Mobile Devices For Employees, Should You Consider Data Security?

The 2017 Nokia Threat Intelligence Report found that 68.5 percent of all malware infects Android mobile devices. By contrast, only 3.5 percent of malware targets iPhones and other mobile devices. (The remaining 28 percent of malware is designed to infect Windows devices and personal computers.)

According to the report, even though Google has made efforts to secure Android devices from hackers, the hackers continue to find ways to bypass Google's cybersecurity measures. The main reason Android devices are more vulnerable is because they allow "sideloading," meaning users can download and install apps from the Internet that have not been scanned or authenticated by the Google Play Store. In China, 96 percent of apps are purchased through third-party app stores.

Apple devices are much less vulnerable to malware. Apple's operating system is more secure, and Apple "sandboxes" apps, which prevents malware from spreading.

The report also states that mobile adware, mostly associated with ad-funded apps, is being used more aggressively by cybercriminals. "iPhone rarely targeted by malware: Nokia intelligence report," www.deccanchronicle.com (Nov. 20, 2017).


Commentary

As the above report shows, certain mobile devices are more susceptible to malware than others. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider the vulnerability of a device when choosing which mobile devices to purchase for employees.

The best way to decide which mobile device to buy is to find out the amount of malware that has infected those devices in the past. Studies like the one mentioned above can help determine what mobile devices present the lowest risk.

However, no matter what mobile device you choose to purchase for employees, malware is always a risk. The best way to prevent a malware infection on an organizational device is to conduct repetitive training on cybersecurity best practices for all employees.

It is important to consider, for employer devices, prohibiting employees from downloading apps from third-party app stores onto organizational devices. As discussed above, third-party apps are more likely to carry malware. In fact, only allow employees to download apps needed to perform work tasks on work devices.

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