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Security myths debunked

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Think your enterprise mobile devices are secure? Think again. The devices your employees use for work purposes are treasure troves of sensitive information, writes DOROS HADJIZENONOS, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa.

Think your enterprise mobile devices are secure? Think again. The iOS and Android devices your employees use for work purposes are treasure troves of sensitive information, and it only takes one compromised device to put your business in a perilous predicament.

A 2016 survey of IT security professionals showed that 40% of organisations make BYOD available to all employees while 32% make it available to select employees. Workers use these same devices to download personal apps and emails – exposing your network to phishing scams and malware infections.

More than one billion Android mobile devices are not safe – and may never be. iPhones and iPads aren’t immune to risk either. In fact, there is a 50% chance that an organisation with more than 2,000 mobile devices has at least six infected devices.

Here are the five most common misconceptions about mobile security and how you can secure your mobile workforce.

1.       Mobile isn’t a big problem

Firewalls and security infrastructures that protect PC desktops and laptops do not provide enough protection from mobile attacks.

Mobile attacks come from three primary sources: network attacks, infected apps and system exploits. While testing mobile security for prospective customers, Check Point regularly finds 5% to 20% of enterprise devices are already compromised. It takes only one compromised device to penetrate your security perimeter.

Discovering a breach takes an average of about six months, and a response to fix the breach another three months. This means that once a breach is detected, the damage is already done. Remediation can be costly, as is containing the damage to brand reputation. Even if the damage is under control, your company may not know vital trade secrets were compromised until your competitive advantage is suddenly lost.

2.       MDM is enough

Many companies rely on basic mobile hygiene policies using mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions. Some augment these solutions with a hodgepodge of point solutions that offer incremental and often rudimentary enhancements.

These solutions help control damage inflicted by compromised devices and address many known threats, but are unable to detect recently created malware or new vulnerabilities in networks, operating systems and apps.

For example, gaining root access to a mobile device (also called “rooting” on Android or “jailbreaking” on iOS) enables cybercriminals to make a broad range of customisations and configurations to serve their objectives. MDM and EMM systems detect the existence of certain files in a system directory that enable root access by employing several methods, including static root indicators. However, free tools for Android and iOS devices are available for avoiding this type of detection. By changing root access indicators continually, cybercriminals can evade detection, and even deny root check requests from the EMM or MDM system, disabling detection entirely.

3.       Secure containers are safe

Secure containers for data management platforms provide security inside the enterprise perimeter. However, mobile devices often access systems and apps like Salesforce, Oracle or SAP outside the perimeter. While these systems and apps have their own protections, network spoofs or man-in-the-middle attacks eavesdrop, intercept and alter traffic. Everything a user does, including entering passwords, could be intercepted by criminals, and used to breach the perimeter and to steal financial and personnel information.

Attackers often trick employees into logging into malicious sites. While users believe they’re interacting with a known and trusted entity in the cloud, the attacker takes over their device, copying credentials, snooping on instant messages, or stealing their sensitive information.

Corporate executives and employees sometimes save critical documents and sensitive information outside the secure container – using a cloud storage service to easily access while travelling or share with partners. Once compromised, attackers intercept these communications and access these important and sometimes confidential documents.

4.       iOS is immune

Apple’s iOS is not immune to threats. Some organisations using MDMs unwittingly distribute infected apps to iPhones and iPads. Apps from unauthorised, unreliable app stores may also harbour viruses, and hackers even compromised Apple’s development tools, sneaking malware into new apps without the developers’ knowledge.

Check Point recently discovered a vulnerability found in iOS that exploits a loophole in the Apple Developer Enterprise program. The program lets organisations develop and distribute apps for internal enterprise use without publishing them on Apple’s App Store. These apps typically distribute quickly and directly to devices.

However, malicious apps can use this same method and enable criminals to stage man-in-the-middle attacks and hijack communications between managed iOS devices and MDM solutions. This type of exploit gives criminals control of the devices, the data that resides on them, and even enterprise MDM services.

Flaws in Apple’s enterprise app installation process allow the introduction of unverified code into the iOS ecosystem. MDM systems could end up being the distribution systems for the very malicious apps they are defending against. Without an advanced mobile threat detection and mitigation solution on your iPhone, you may never suspect that any malicious behaviour ever took place.

5.       Mobile antivirus is all I need

Mobile antivirus solutions are limited compared to their PC cousins. They can uncover malicious code in apps by looking for unique binary signatures that identify known malware. However, criminals have found new ways to obfuscate those signatures, making them useless in the detection of mobile malware. Even a slight change in the code, such as adding a simple line that does nothing, changes the app’s signature and the new version of the malicious app will slip by undetected by the antivirus program.

Signatures are not available for “zero-day” (newly created) malware. To catch and block a virus, your antivirus program first must know that it exists. Even if updated daily, antivirus programs still couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of these attacks.

Secure your mobile workforce

Mobile devices require a new, intelligent approach to threat prevention. MDM and EMM protection and secure containers are not enough, and antivirus products cannot cope with new malware found every day. Even iPhones are not secure. The continuous, rising wave of attacks puts your company at serious risk.

You need a solution that continuously analyses devices, uncovering known and unknown vulnerabilities and criminal behaviour, by applying threat emulation, advanced static code analysis, app reputation, and machine learning.

Stop malware before it communicates with criminal servers, and detect threats at the device, app, and network levels. Always have an accurate picture of the threats and devices on your network and detailed information about risk mitigation.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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