Making Your Mobile Devices Safe From Cyberattacks: The 9 Best Practices

The reality is, mobile devices are less safe than desktop computers. Boosting security on such devices is essential if you use them in business. 

Technological breakthroughs have streamlined your operations in several ways. Primarily, you can now use mobile devices to make your communication and data sharing more convenient.

But this technological advancement also means that information on your team members’ mobile devices is no longer limited to just phone numbers and contacts. They now contain much more significant data, such as emails, passwords, and other account details.

That’s why here at “Callow and Company” we believe in keeping those mobile devices secure is key to shielding your reputation and minimizing the risk of losing money.

Unfortunately, the protection of tablets and smartphones against cyberattacks isn’t as robust as that of desktops and laptops. Anti-malware applications may be present, but they’re not as powerful as their computer counterparts. In addition, many devices don’t support certain measures and applications that companies develop to enhance business security.

Fortunately, you can still implement robust safety measures to protect your smartphones and tablets.

This article will cover the nine best practices in improving cybersecurity on mobile devices.

THE NINE PRACTICES

PRACTICE #1 – ESTABLISH A SOUND SECURITY POLICY

Before issuing tablets or smartphones to your teams, create an effective usage policy. Define rules about acceptable use and determine the penalties for violating them.

Your employees must be aware of the security risks and measures that can help them reduce the risks. They should know that they are the first line of defense against cybercrime.

Furthermore, be sure to develop a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you permit your team to use a personal device for business. Your company policy can include the following:

  • Requirements for the installation and remote software wiping on any personal device that stores or accesses company data
  • Employee training and education on safeguarding company information when using wireless networks on their mobile devices
  • Data protection methods that include automatic locking or other security measures applicable after long inactivity periods
  • Protocols for lost and stolen devices
  • The use of security software and antivirus platforms
  • Backup requirements

PRACTICE #2 – ENSURE THE OPERATING SYSTEM IS UP TO DATE

Updating Android and iOS operating systems improves overall user experience, but their most significant role is in addressing security vulnerabilities.

Therefore, install updates as soon as the developer rolls them out to reduce exposure to cybersecurity threats. Delaying it may give criminals enough time to attack your weaknesses and take advantage of outdated operating systems.

 

PRACTICE #3 – ENABLE PASSWORD PROTECTION

A complex password or PIN can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing mobile devices. Besides using alphanumeric combinations, you can also use facial or fingerprint recognition, depending on what suits your employees.

If you opt for digits and letters, don’t share the combination with people outside your company. On top of that, be sure that your staff doesn’t store them on their phones. Unmarked folders and physical wallets are a much safer option.

PRACTICE #4 – INSTALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS ONLY

Lenient download policies can allow your team members to install non-business apps. Downloading such apps might seem harmless, but they are also infamous for their harmful advertising codes and many other threats.

To mitigate this risk, tell your employees they can only download and use apps necessary for their roles.

PRACTICE #5 – AVOID PUBLIC WI-FI CONNECTIONS

Your team may need to use public Wi-Fi networks in emergencies to send crucial emails or schedule a meeting. However, connecting to such networks can expose confidential company information to cybercriminals using the same network.

The easiest way to minimize this risk is to provide a high-quality internet plan that features roaming services for your remote workers.

But if there’s no way to avoid public Wi-Fi connections, a reputable virtual private network (VPN) or secure global network (SGN) may do the trick. It can help shield your data by creating direct, secure links from your location to the intended website.

PRACTICE #6 – LEVERAGE PHONE TRACKING

Losing company-issued mobile devices is unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world.

Enabling Android Phone Tracker, Find My Phone on iOS, or other device-tracking software can help locate your lost smartphones. Some programs also enable you to remove data on your stolen devices remotely.

Installing these apps takes a couple of minutes and gives you much-needed peace of mind. With it, even if your staff loses their mobile device, cybercriminals are less likely to get their hands on the content.

PRACTICE #7 – INCORPORATE MDM (MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE)

For even more security, you may want to integrate with reliable MDM. It’s an excellent way to separate personal and business information while allowing your team members to set up robust security measures on their devices.

In most cases, cloud-based software is the most affordable, flexible, and manageable type of MDM. Many platforms let you check out device information, update and manage apps, configure your devices, create usage restrictions, and remove content remotely.

If possible, implement MDM software that enforces security measures across all devices. As previously mentioned, this can include data encryption, strong passwords, and setting up containers to separate personal information from enterprise data.

PRACTICE #8 – SCREEN MESSAGES CAREFULLY

Cybercriminals frequently employ SMS phishing to trick your team into clicking dangerous links. They pose as someone credible, asking your staff to share confidential information.

If your employees encounter such messages, they should delete them or alert the IT department. here at “Callow and Company” we recommend avoiding opening the SMS and blocking the sender.

PRACTICE #9 – BLOCKING AND WHITELISTING

Many threats can compromise your company due to employee errors. For example, a team member may not realize they’re downloading a malicious app that allows thieves to steal data from their mobile devices.

Blocking and whitelisting can enable you to protect your employees from these risks by determining which sites and apps are safe.

On one hand, blocking certain applications can give your IT department peace of mind and alert them when someone tries to access those applications.

On the other hand, whitelists can work great for highlighting the tools your team should prioritize over social media and games.

DON’T DROP YOUR GUARD

Securing your desktop computers and laptops only is a disaster waiting to happen.

Your employees may still use their mobile devices to send emails and share sensitive information. That’s why shielding them from cybercriminals should be your top priority.

So, develop a strict usage policy and follow other recommended practices to make your team’s smartphones and tablets virtually impervious to data theft. We recommend these practices to our customers in the Dallas, Ft. Worth area.

Get in touch with us today for even more cybersecurity tips. We can schedule a non-salesy chat to help you identify and address any potential security risks.

The article was used with permission from The Technology Press.

Sextortion Bitcoin scam

Popular Scam Makes 2020 Return

Another aggravating email that is making its rounds. You get an email which may include recent pictures of places or people you were with. It then goes on to tell you that if you don’t pay a certain amount by a certain day these (and other pictures) will be uploaded to porn websites and be emailed to all your contacts to harm your credibility. But if you act fast and pay $$ to a certain bitcoin account by creating another email address and sending $, you will be spared the embarrassment.

Several Different Flavors

This same scam may come in different subjects. Breached password, etc. Here’s a sample of what it may look like:

I am well aware [REDACTED] is your pass words. Lets get right to point. Neither anyone has paid me to investigate you. You may not know me and you are probably thinking why you’re getting this e-mail? 

actually, i installed a software on the adult videos (pornographic material) web-site and do you know what, you visited this website to have fun (you know what i mean). While you were viewing videos, your web browser began working as a Remote Desktop that has a keylogger which gave me accessibility to your display and also cam. Just after that, my software gathered every one of your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, as well as email . after that i created a double video. 1st part displays the video you were viewing (you’ve got a nice taste haha), and next part shows the recording of your cam, yeah its you. 

You have not one but two choices. Shall we read up on these options in aspects: 

First alternative is to just ignore this message. in such a case, i am going to send out your actual video to every single one of your personal contacts and think regarding the awkwardness you will definitely get. and definitely if you happen to be in a loving relationship, how it would affect? 

Number 2 solution is to pay me $889. Lets name it as a donation. in this situation, i most certainly will asap remove your video footage. You could carry on daily life like this never occurred and you surely will never hear back again from me.

You’ll make the payment through Bi‌tco‌in (if you don’t know this, search for ‘how to buy b‌itcoi‌n’ in Google). 

B‌T‌C‌ ad‌dre‌ss to send to: [REDACTED]

[CaSe sensitive, copy & paste it] 

if you are wondering about going to the law enforcement officials, well, this message can not be traced back to me. I have dealt with my actions. i am also not attempting to demand a huge amount, i would like to be compensated. within this%} emaiQUNdkpeC [SIC] if i do not receive the ‌bi‌tco‌in‌, i will send your video recording to all of your contacts including family members, coworkers, and so forth. Having said that, if i receive the payment, i will erase the recording immediately. If you really want proof, reply Yup then i will send out your video to your 9 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste mine time and yours by replying to this e mail.

Very Sneaky

These people pray on you getting upset, excited, and then paying them money. Instead of an actual threat, they make one up to make money. People have even died because of scams like this. Please share this email with anyone that has an email account. This may save a life.

How did they get any of my information?

As we see in the news, many data breaches have occurred in places we do business (Target, Equifax, etc.) and these cowards use that information, locate our social media accounts, gather information, then use it in this scam to get money.

What can I do?

If you receive an email like this, report it if you can. Otherwise, just delete it. It’s a scam. If you need help and want some resources to help better protect your network, email and company infrastructure give me a call I offer flat rate pricing that can not only save you some IT dollars, but help from these scam emails getting to your inbox.

 

 

 

I Think I just might be Psychic

The power of the mind is a strong and sometimes dramatic force

Ever have that time where you absolutely know something is about to happen and it does? Ever walk into a room and feel like you’ve been there before? These are probably all great questions for the internet, but I wanted to touch on something that really hit home recently and is definitely where you should be thinking if you have more than 2 computers in your office.

Let’s use our IT crystal ball to find out

Actually its remote monitoring management (RMM) software. This tool monitors important features of a server (email server, database server, website server, file server, etc.) and workstations (system health, installed software health, etc.) actually thousands of monitors and remediation at a moments notice. If something is required an alert or email is issued to the administrator and work can be scheduled. Truly a crystal ball for IT administrators.

But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?

So, what does this mean for the rest of us without it?

Easy, more expensive IT costs. You might ask yourself “But, monthly maintenance costs a few hundred dollars a month, and I don’t spend that on monthly IT costs?”. Good question, it’s not easy to see the benefits when you think of it that way, but, what about what you’re not seeing? Not only does the RMM part help prevent and notify when a system breakdown will happen but, it also keeps your systems constantly and consistently virus protected, patched and your software updated. Some plans also keep your systems backed up, and protected not only against viruses but against ransomware. For instance, the typical ransomware attack asks for 3 bitcoins to decrypt your files, in today’s bitcoin price that’s about $30,000 and if you don’t pay in the first 24 hours the price goes to 5 bitcoins ($50,000). When you visit with your board of directors and don’t mention “Managed Service” because you think it’s too expensive, make sure you tell them when you get ransomware, you had an opportunity to not pay the $30,000 that it’s now going to cost. Think I’m kidding? Think I’m trying to sell you? Hell no, I’m trying to save you.

Oh yeah, think your backups are safe? Those get encrypted too. You need a backup plan with disaster recovery. Backing up alone isn’t a solution, it’s a disappointment.

Don’t let these bastards hold you up

What I used to think…

I work for a retired couple that manages several apartment buildings and a few years back they had their accounting computers drive crash, the husband told me that when he took a computer class to get up-to-speed with computers they told him “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” I remember that about computer drives, but now I’ve changed my opinion and use the same analogy with Ransomware, “It’s not if it will happen, but when.” Don’t let these bastards hold you up, get managed service today and get protected. 972-571-4808.