Fake Mobile Apps

The Rise of Fake Mobile Apps: How to Protect Yourself and Your Business?

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Nowadays, there is an app for everything, from pedometers, to meditation apps. Whilst Google Play regularly audits and deletes fraudulent apps, fake apps still keep propping up. Mobile phones are a no-brainer for targeted fraudulent activity – the low barrier to entry, and dominance in society and business make it the perfect breeding ground for fraud, crime and cyber-security threats.

What Are Fake Mobile Apps? Fake mobile apps are often Android and iOS apps that mimic the appearance and/or functionality of legitimate apps or genuinely provide legitimate functions, however they may have hidden functions that are potentially undetectable to the user. Essentially, fake apps are those that hide or obscure their real (often bad) intent hidden behind an innocent intent.

Hacking and Hijacking Via Fake Apps: Hackers require open doors to access a system or network, and finding vulnerabilities by hacking into an employee’s smartphone is a great way to penetrate a company. Once the hacker enters the company system, the company does not have any protection. The hacker can then freely access sensitive data, or they launch Ransomware attacks against the company. Ransomware typically involves encrypting data that will only be de-encrypted once the ransom is paid for. Below are few tips on how to protect yourself from intruders.

Fake App

Tip 1: Education: Employees must be notified that their mobile devices are an excellent access point within the company network. Data security training should be mandatory for employees to use private and company mobile devices. The company can then set rules for individual mobile devices within the company, according to their cybersecurity safety needs and concerns. Whilst the threat might not be imminent, prevention is always better than cure.

Tip 2: Mobile Application Management (MAM): There must be a very strict division between private use and business use. Employees must use business applications only for commercial purposes. It is a good idea to manage all the applications available on the company’s smartphone or tablet. This is also referred to as MAM (Managing Application Management).

Tip 3: Mobile Device Management (MDM): The business owner should then manage the smartphones of all employees through a central administration. This is also known as mobile device management (MDM). With this tool, an administrator can implement all necessary patches and security features at once.

Tip 4: Guest Management: Smartphones or tablets only used by guests should be allowed to use a network within a certain secure guest area that provides limited access to the Internet. The IT department must monitor the guest area in real-time so that any potential malware or digital threats do not spread to the rest of the company.

Tip 5: Tracking and Inventory: All mobile devices used by the company must be registered in an inventory. There should also be documentation (a concise summary) about each product and its current condition – manufacturer, product type, operating system, updates, installed patch level, and phone number. The more information you have stored, the more prepared you are for potential future complications.

Tip 6: Managing Controlled Risks: When an employee wants to use his mobile device for private and commercial purposes, the company must take special measures to ensure its safety. There are many possibilities for dividing usage. The first is to provide a container application such as an Aerovat container from VMware, Sophos Mobile Control 6.0, or a container terminal from QNAP NAS. The container app prevents copying sensitive data or transferring it to potential private and insecure apps like WhatsApp. If the Container app is not available, install a system where the employee must obtain employer approval before downloading any applications or programs.

Tip 7: If All Else Fails, Use a VPN: Make sure that all employees use an encrypted VPN to transfer and download data.

Final Thoughts
Avoiding problems is much easier than fixing catastrophes. Fake apps are a growing problem. Organizations have long had a fear that mobile could be a threat, but low historic mobile malware rates, and the lack of mobile attacks, have led to a sense of complacency. This must end. Now is the time to make sure ad fraud protection is in place so that fake mobile apps don’t affect your company.

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