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Mobile workers 'reckless' on data protection

Employees who access corporate data via their mobile devices could be putting their business at risk of a data breach by not taking strong enough measures to protect their gadgets.

This is the warning of a new report from RiskIQ, which found that users in the UK and US are frequently engaging in reckless behaviour on their smartphones that could be exposing their companies to data breaches.

For example, mobile users frequently stray from official iOS and Android app stores when looking for applications for their devices, which can leave them more exposed to issues such as malware, ransomware and other malicious actors, IT Pro Portal reports.

As more workers use smartphones for business purposes, how they protect data will be a key concern for CIOs. There are a range of threats that mobile device users face, from malicious apps to the risk of visual hacking, when sensitive data is accidentally revealed on screen.

As checking business emails on the train during the morning commute has now become second nature to many people, this is one problem that must be addressed, for example with the use of privacy screens that can prevent data being viewed by anyone other than the person holding the phone.

Meanwhile, the survey found nearly one in seven people (14 per cent) 'jailbreak' their devices, modifying their operating systems in order to use other service providers or gain access to apps that they would otherwise be unable to use, and the report warns this is a particularly risky behaviour.

While jailbreaking can offer a user more choice, it also bypasses key security mechanisms put in place by service providers and app stores, the study said. It added that in order to ensure safety, increasing the security awareness of users will be essential.

In order to protect corporate data, businesses will have to take a leading role in this. The report said: "With so many careless users lacking mobile security acumen, businesses must take it upon themselves to fight the mobile threat actors fraudulently leveraging their brand."

As well as putting in place tougher defences and tools to monitor digital threats, enterprises will need to educate their employees on best practices, from ensuring they only install apps from reputable sources to making sure that they are not inadvertently sharing sensitive data when it is displayed on mobile screens outside the office.

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