Remote access networking has been gaining a lot of popularity as more and more enterprises are adopting this technology to enable their employees to work from outside the office, and such access usually happens over untrusted networks with the use of VPNs that extend the enterprise network. This has also resulted in connectivity across a variety of networks including wired connection, remote access, 3G/4G and Wi-Fi. In this way, the enterprise is being forced to extend information into untrusted environments and is often unsure how to do this in a secure manner.
Due to the rapid digitalization of the business world, enterprises have been put at risk of cyber-attacks more than ever before especially when it comes to the wireless environment, which is more accessible and information leakage threats are even more severe.
Recent findings from SophosLabs reveal how cybercriminals carefully craft geo-malware, which are written in local language and spoof local institutions like the postal service or law enforcement agency, luring users to open the attachment and download ransomware. Mobile devices are at risk from such evolving ransomware attacks.
“In addition to leaky apps, there are malware families crafted to target vulnerabilities in a specific OS version. Also there exist trojans that target financial data on mobile devices,” explained Harish Chib, Vice President of Middle East & Africa at Sophos. “Employees using their own mobile devices must follow policies that keep the business compliant with regulatory requirements. There should be procedures in place for lost or stolen devices, including situations under which devices will be remotely wiped. In return, organisations should give details on which applications can be used or downloaded and ensure the use of device security features, such as password locks and encryption,” he added.
According to Bruce Zhou, CEO at AXILSPOT, user authentication management is a basic need. “In order to tackle the malicious cyber-attacks, a higher-level anti-attack application and protection system is required. A fully-functional system management is on demand to handle the threat.”
As more and more enterprises allow access to company resources through personal devices, Mobile Device Management (MDM) and broadly, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) have addressed these issues is an effective way to allay security concerns when it comes to mobility and BYOD. MDM’s most recent evolution is known as containerization where a separate zone is carved out on the user‘s device, in which authorized enterprise apps and data reside, with policy controls applying only to the container’s contents, not the entire device. This space may be visually separated for the user but doesn’t need to be. It’s like having two devices in one – an employee device with personal preferences, applications and data; and a parallel universe with all the corporate apps and data.
Commenting on the importance of having a secure way for devices connecting to a network, Manish Bhardwaj, Sr. Marketing Manager of Middle East & Turkey at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company said, “Threats originate from insiders as well as outside attackers. As a result, WLANs with role-based access privileges that are tied to a user’s identity offer exceptional protection. Traditional wired networks only apply access rights to switch ports or VLANs. But mobile users and devices, by definition, do not connect to the network through a fixed port. Now that users are mobile, the network must identify every user and device that connects. The network must apply policies so that the appropriate access is granted.”
A wireless network is different from a wired network in a way that anyone in the coverage area may detect the signal and may want to connect. And as different types of devices like smart phones, laptops, tablets flood the network, there are increasing risks and challenges posed in network management. Besides the obvious impact on the network itself, this will require organizations to redesign their applications to ensure that sensitive corporate information going across these networks is secure.