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Most Small to Medium Enterprises Clueless on Common Mobile Threats: Survey

The majority of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are either unaware of, or defenseless, against the most common threats to their networks posted by employee-owned mobile devices, according to Marble Security.

The majority of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are either unaware of, or defenseless, against the most common threats to their networks posted by employee-owned mobile devices, according to Marble Security.

SMEs were poorly prepared to protect mobile devices because IT professionals are not aware of some of the critical threats targeting mobile devices, Marble Security found in its “How to Effectively Secure Your Network Against Mobile Threats” report released Tuesday. More than half, or 58 percent, of IT professionals in Marble Security’s survey were not aware of advanced persistent threats targeting mobile devices. Spear phishing was another, with 45 percent of IT professionals not aware that spear phishing attacks could be a problem for mobile users.

Marble SecurityIn its survey, Marble Security identified eight critical security threats on mobile devices, including APTs, spear phishing, malicious and privacy-leaking apps, rooted or jailbroken devices, DNS poisoning, unpatched and outdated operating systems, malicious WiFi hotspots, and attacks based on malware and zero-day exploits. A little less than a third, or 31 percent, of the respondents were not aware of the security issues posed by rooted or jailbroken devices to the enterprise, and 29 percent did not know about DNS poisoning attacks on mobile devices, according to the survey.

“You can’t defend against threats you don’t understand,” David Jevans, CTO and founder of Marble Security, said in a statement.

It’s not all bad news, as most of the IT professionals in the survey were aware of malware and zero-day attacks targeting mobile, the risks of malicious and privacy-leaking apps, and compromised WiFi hotspots. The majority of the IT professionals were well-aware of the security risks posed by mobile devices running outdated and unpatched operating systems. It’s bad enough IT didn’t realize the extent of problems mobile devices, both corporate and employee-owned, can bring to the enterprise network. If the organization had a comprehensive BYOD-policy or mobile-device-management platform in place, a lot of the issues could have been mitigated. That doesn’t appear to be the case though.

About 89 percent of IT professionals in the survey were supporting remote employees, but 68 percent said their organizations did not have a bring-your-own-device policy. The survey also found that 74 percent of the respondents had not implemented a mobile-device-management platform.

Attackers are fully aware that mobile devices are the weak point in the enterprise’s network, which is why they are shifting their attention to target those devices, Jevans said.

“MDM alone is not a mobile security solution,” Jevans said. For many organizations, protecting the enterprise network against all of the critical threats required buying and managing multiple products, making the end result “complex, heavy to manage, and expensive,” Jevans said.

Separately, Marble Security released its cloud-based mobile security service to proactively protect the enterprise’s mobile perimeter.

The service, called Marble, targets medium to large enterprises and offers to secure all of the user’s devices for just $3 per user per month. Marble is available immediately for iOS, Android, Mac OS X, and Windows, the company said. The new service “is effective against the eight critical threats while remaining lightweight, light touch and affordable,” Jevans said.

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