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Mobile Ad Libraries Put Enterprise Data at Risk, Firm Says

Mojave Networks Introduces Mobile Application Reputation Feature

Mojave Networks Introduces Mobile Application Reputation Feature

Mojave Networks has added a new feature to the company’s professional and enterprise services in an effort to help organizations minimize the risks posed by the mobile applications used by their employees.

According to the company, organizations can use the new feature to discover potential risks by analyzing data collected and transmitted from mobile apps, and create policies for data loss prevention based on the information.

The new mobile application reputation offering, which is available immediately, includes features like customizable analytics, categorization of apps by risk level, application tracking, and integration with device management and network security solutions.

“The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend is transitioning to ‘bring your own applications’ (BYOA) as users download more and more apps to share data, increase productivity and stay connected,” noted  Garrett Larsson, CEO and co-founder of Mojave Networks.

“If any application running on a mobile device connected to the network is insecure, it can put highly sensitive corporate data at risk. Our new application reputation feature can help enterprises improve their mobile security posture by eliminating the risk of insecure applications.”

The company analyzes over 2,000 mobile apps every day by tracking 200 individual risk factors in 15 different categories. In addition to static and dynamic analysis, Mojave Networks said that it uses data from real-world usage of the tested applications to determine if an application is safe.

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One risk that’s particularly problematic for enterprises is when private data is collected and sent to remote Web APIs, the company warned.

“Some of the most significant risk factors affecting corporate employees and individual mobile users, such as data loss and PII collection, occur not by the application itself, but within mobile advertising libraries and other library components such as social media or analytic tools,” Ryan Smith, Mojave’s lead threat engineer, explained in a blog post.

Based on the analysis of more than 11 million URLs to which mobile apps connect to, Mojave Threat Labs determined that business users connect to at least as many data-gathering libraries as consumers. During its analysis, the company found that 65% of applications downloaded by business users connect to an advertising network, and 40% of them connect to a social network API.

“It is critically important that users and IT Administrators understand what data is being collected from their devices, where it is being sent, and how it is being used. Given that the majority of the sensitive data being collected occurs within these third party libraries such as ad networks, social media APIs, and analytics tools, it is therefore important to fully understand each of the libraries included in your mobile apps,” Smith noted.

Founded in San Mateo, CA in 2011, Mojave Networks raised a $5 million round of funding in November 2013, in addition to launching a cloud-based, enterprise-grade solution that protects mobile devices starting at the network level. 

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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