Attackers circumvent security through app store, hardware


Although enterprises utilize a variety of security techniques, such as compartmentalizing trusted apps and containerizing sensitive data to create sterile enterprise mobile environments, attackers are finding success infiltrating the most mundane mobile activities.

Apps that appear safe and trusted can, in fact, be dangerous, according to Georgia Tech's 2014 Emerging Cyber Threats Report (.pdf).

"We have shown that the regular app store review process is not able to prevent the introduction of a malicious app," says Tielei Wang, a Georgia Tech research scientist, in the report.

Report authors say several measures could improve app store security, such as a more fine-grained permission system, control-flow integrity checking or requiring developers to use a type-safe programming language.

Malicious actors can also can also breach enterprise mobile ecosystems through hardware, notes the report.

In July 2013, Georgia Tech researchers demonstrated at the Black Hat Security Briefings how a hardware device that looks like a USB charger could compromise a connected iPhone.

Georgia Tech researchers say that securing devices across the enterprise is no longer practical or desirable, and more companies have turned their focus to controlling data. While this approach has not reached maturity, some companies are creating data-classification policies and researchers are investigating ways to make data classification and tagging easier.

For more:
- download the report (.pdf)

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