Smartphones reboot

If we look at historical methods for managing the risks associated with mobility, we will understand that as a first step, laptops were limited to the scope of the company with limited internal mobility. Under these conditions, perimeter countermeasures remain in effect (antivirus, firewall, patch management, quarantine, VLAN …), even if the management is expensive and the workarounds are numerous.

The emergence of an expanded enterprise and, more generally, cloud computing has completely upset the structural presentation of the information system: in the context of eliminating IP dimming, the castle becomes the center of the airport, where users connect to services in accordance with their profile. A forgotten security perimeter and response update, it is part of the IS that gets out of control without drift control in relation to security policy. To mitigate these new risks, a set of best practices has emerged to harmonize mobility and data security (encryption, strong authentication, VPN, web portal, compliance monitoring posts …).

These measures turn out to be effective in managing “traditional” mobility (nomadic positions, VIPs, etc.), but, nevertheless, there are a number of risks specific to smartphones. The terminal is the weakest link in the chain, and its security problems regularly become one of the public. In 2009, a video showing the extraction of encrypted data and the removal of a PIN code and backup codes encrypted on an iPhone in a matter of minutes.

More recently, it was allocated by public services in Germany and Saudi Arabia for various reasons related to national integrity. France 2 published a report in which a journalist explained how to use a mobile phone as a micro-spy using simple software available on the Internet. Recently, the German government has warned users about the shortcoming that it is using. This, based on the PDF format, also allowed the hacker to take control of the iPhone.

These examples are not accidental and indicate the risks associated with using smartphones in business: Loss or theft. The risk inherent in the form factor of these devices is theft or loss. In addition to being the most likely, this is the most dangerous. A telephone usually contains all the letters and contacts of the user, confidential data and confidential documents are stored in the storage, the terminal provides privileged access to the information system. Loss of the device can lead to a chain reaction when exposed to security – falling into the wrong hands can be devastating.

Data reboot advantages. Failure and wear. These devices are relatively fragile and therefore subject to technical malfunctions or damage. Besides immobilization or even replacement, which can be annoying, especially for a VIP user, there is a risk of data loss. You must be able to find and re-synchronize all available data (PIM, saved data, configuration …). Illegal use Opening messaging, document sharing, and other commonly disparate business applications involves the risk of illegal access to resources and disclosure of information. The risk is even greater since it is difficult to control the ability to connect terminals.

Connecting GSM and 3G also implies the risk of excessive consumption. Indeed, there is no control over the use of the tariff plan and the use of Internet access. The additional costs associated with this use may explode with trips abroad and using roaming. Data corruption. This risk may seem insignificant, but it is closely related to the size of the terminals and their ergonomics. Input errors on small virtual keyboards or manipulation errors can lead to the modification or even deletion of sensitive business data.

Each technological leap is accompanied by hackers, and cybercriminals are not long interested. Most terminals regularly connect to a regular computer to synchronize contacts, create a backup … This synchronization is a vector of malware distribution for hackers who use the weaknesses of the terminals.

Smartphones have the same login points as any other laptop, except that some features are especially attractive to hackers. Indeed, they are constantly connected via a 3G network, have potentially vulnerable connections, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In addition, data retrieval via 3G networks is facilitated, since there is no intrusion detection mechanism and traffic analyzers do not see the stream.