Enterprises at risk from inside and out

Companies must have policies for personal devices on the network, social media use

Tags: McAfee IncorporationUnited Arab EmiratesaeCERT (www.aecert.ae/index-en.php)
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Enterprises at risk from inside and out Malware and Trojan attacks on enterprises through mobile phones are on the increase.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 23, 2011

Malware and Trojan attacks on enterprises though personal mobile devices hooked up to corporate networks are on the increase, according to Sherif el Nabawi, director of emerging markets for McAfee Professional Services.

El Nabawi said that he has seen a number of disturbing types of malware designed for Android, that were discovered in Q2 2011, these include a malware program called Eagle Eye.

"Eagle Eye was one of the Android malwares that was released in Q2 2011 and it actually records your conversations and sends them back to the cyber-criminals. So you can imagine, it records every conversation on your Android phone," he said.

McAfee also discovered other malware applications during Q2 2011, which can copy details from SMS on Android phones, or can track the IMEI number of the phone and steal personal data and anything else that is on the phone.

El Nabawi said that these kinds of attacks can be part of a much larger enterprise attack.

"These malwares can be part of an advanced persistent threat, it takes a long time [to infect a network], like the Stuxnet, which did not come up overnight. It normally comes through legitimate traffic that you may not recognise as irregular internet traffic. Cyber-criminals have ways of planting those malwares and establishing command and control from outside and taking over or manipulating the enterprise network," he said.

According to Meshal A Bin Hussain, manager of operations, for aeCERT, malware has become more sophisticated and more prevalent.

"There is malware that can be triggered once you call your online phone banking service and it can actually listen and record the DTMF tones that you dial for your pin numbers and your secret codes," he said.

Bin Hussain said that these types of attacks on endpoints are nothing new, although they are a growing threat. He added that one very concerning aspect about enterprise security is that companies do not just have to fear malware and viruses, but the people that work within the company as well.

"What I have seen is that there is a big shift happening and the threat that concerns data loss and data theft has now actually moved from Trojans and Malware to trying to control humans and stop them from actually sharing the confidential corporate data," Bin Hussain said that because of the development of smartphones and the fact that social media is now included on most mobile devices, people have begun to share things they would not normally share.

"For example, because of the social media on all our phones and end-points, some users have shared intentionally or unintentionally, information related to enterprises. There was an example recently where one of the mangers of Microsoft tweeted about a confidential product and he got fired for that," he said.

Bin Hussain suggested that companies need to both concentrate on having the highest security possible when allowing personal mobile devices on the network, but must also have a comprehensive policy for mobile and social networking use.

"[Enterprises] need guidelines and principals on what to Tweet, what to write on Facebook because it is human nature now because we are using these apps, we are sharing information we do not usually share with anyone," he said. 

 

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