It is believed that 1 out of every 36 mobile devices has been compromised by a mobile app security breach. And with more than 5 billion mobile devices globally, you do the math.
The news that a consumer-facing application or business has experienced a security breach is a story that breaks far too often. As of late, video conferencing apps like Zoom and Houseparty have been the centre of attention in the news cycle.
As apps continue to integrate into the everyday life of our users, we cannot wait for a breach to start considering the efficacy of our security measures. When users shop online, update their fitness training log, review a financial statement, or connect with a colleague over video, we are wielding their personal data and must do so responsibly.
Let’s cover some of the ways hackers access sensitive information and tips to prevent these hacks from happening to you.
The Authentication Problem
Authentication is the ability to reliably determine that the person trying to access a given account is the actual person who owns that account. One factor authentication would be accepting a username and password to authenticate a user, but as we know, people use the same insecure passwords and then reuse them for all their accounts.
If a hacker accesses a user’s username and password, even if through no fault of yours, they are able to access that user’s account information.
Although two-factor authentication (2FA) can feel superfluous at times, it is a simple way to protect user accounts from hackers.
2FA uses a secondary means of authenticating the user, such as sending a confirmation code to a mobile device or email address. This adds another layer of protection by making it more difficult for hackers to fake authentication.
Consider using services that handle authentication securely and having users sign in with them. Google and Facebook, for example, are used by billions of people and they have had to solve authentication problems on a large scale.
Reverse engineering is when hackers develop a clone of an app to get innocent people to download malware. How is this accomplished? All the hacker has to do is gain access to the source code. And if your team is not cautious with permissions and version control systems, a hacker can walk right in unannounced and gain access to the source code along with private environment variables.
One way to safeguard against this is to obfuscate code. Obfuscation and minification make the code less readable to hackers. That way, they’re unable to conduct reverse engineering on an app. You should also make sure your code is in a private repository, secret keys and variables are encrypted, and your team is aware of best practices.
If you’re interested in learning more ways hackers can breach mobile app security, check out the infographic below from CleverTap.
Authored by Drew Page Drew is a content marketing lead from San Diego, where he helps create epic content for companies like CleverTap. He loves learning, writing and playing music. When not surfing the web, you can find him actually surfing, in the kitchen or in a book.
The sudden and dramatic shift to a mobile workforce has thrust video conferencing into the global spotlight and evolved video conferencing vendors from enterprise communication tools to critical infrastructure.
During any major (and rapid) technology adoption, cyberattackers habitually follow the masses in hopes of launching an attack that could lead to a pay day or give them a competitive advantage. This has not been lost on global organisations’ security and IT teams, who are quickly working to make sure their employees’ privacy and data remains secure.
Here are some high-level tips to help keep video conferencing secure.
Update the Application
Video conferencing providers are regularly deploying software updates to ensure that security holes are mitigated. Take advantage of their diligence and update the app prior to using it every time.
Lock meetings down and set a strong password
Make sure that only invited attendees can join a meeting. Using full sentences with special characters included, rather than just words or numbers, can be helpful. Make sure you are not sharing the password widely, especially in public places and never on social media. Waiting room features are critical for privacy as the meeting host can serve as a final triage to make sure only invited participants are attending. Within the meeting, the host can restrict sharing privileges, leading to smoother meetings and ensuring that uninvited guests are not nefariously sharing materials.
Discussing sensitive information
If sensitive material must be discussed, ensure that the meeting name does not suggest it is a top-secret meeting, which would make it a more attractive target for potential eavesdroppers. Using code words to depict business topics is recommended during the cyber crime wave we are experiencing.
Restrict the sharing of sensitive files to approved file-share technologies, not as part of the meeting itself
Using an employee sharing site that only employees have access to (and has multi-factor authentication in place) is a great way to make sure sensitive files touch the right eyes only. This should be mandated as this is a huge Achilles heel.
Use a VPN to protect network traffic while using the platform
With so many employees working remotely, using a virtual private network (VPN) can help better secure internet connections and keep private information private via encryption. Public WiFi can be a gamble as it only takes one malicious actor to cause damage. Do not use public WiFi, especially in airports or train stations. Cyber criminals lurk in those locations.
If you can, utilise two networks on your home WiFi router, one for business and the other for personal use.
Make sure that your work computer is only connected to a unique network in your home. All other personal devices – including your family’s – should not be using the same network. The networks and routers in your home should be updated regularly and, again, should use a complex password. Additionally, you should be the only system administrator on your network and all devices that connect to it.
All of us have a role to play in mitigating the cyber crime wave. Please remember these best practices the next time you connect. Stay safe online
Also related - How Safe are Video Messaging Apps such as Zoom?
The company has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in the past month, but security researchers say the app is a ‘privacy disaster’
As coronavirus lockdowns have moved many in-person activities online, the use of the video-conferencing platform Zoom has quickly escalated. So, too, have concerns about its security.
In the last month, there was a 535% rise in daily traffic to the Zoom.us download page, according to an analysis from the analytics firm SimilarWeb. Its app for iPhone has been the most downloaded app in the country for weeks, according to the mobile app market research firm Sensor Tower. Even politicians and other high-profile figures, including the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the former US federal reserve chair Alan Greenspan, use it for conferencing as they work from home.Continue reading...
Our increased use of video messaging apps has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals, who are seeking to exploit the increase of use by sending phishing emails, social media scam messages and even scam text messages, with fake invitations to video messaging app meetings.
Typically, these scam messages will entice you into either opening a malicious attachment or click a web link which directs to a malicious website. The ultimate aim of these cyberattacks is to deliver malicious software, such as ransomware which locks your PC and demands a ransom payment to unlock, scam a payment, or steal your personal information which can be resold to other cybercriminals on the dark web.
So, never open an attachment or click on any links within any unexpected or suspicious emails, social media messages and text messages.
The next piece of advice is to ensure your video messaging app is always kept up-to-date. Luckily most modern smartphones and computer operating systems will automatically update your apps, but it is always worth double-checking and not to suppress any app updates from occurring, as often the app updates are fixing security flaws.
And finally, on home computers and laptops, when not using video messaging apps, either cover your webcam with a piece of tape or face your webcam towards a wall or ceiling, just in case your computer is covertly compromised and a malicious actor gains access to your computer's webcam.
One tip I didn't have time to say on the podcast, is always ensure your video chats are set to private, using a strong password to prevent ZoomBombing. Recent reportshave shown a series of “Zoombombing” incidents lately, where unwanted guests have joined in on open calls.
Bharat Mistry, Principal Security Strategist at Trend Micro on Zoom advises “Although not alone in being targeted, Zoom has been the subject of some of the highest-profile incidents so far this year. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your business safe.
It’s all about taking advantage of unsecure settings in the app, (and possibly using brute-force tools to crack meeting IDs). With access to a meeting, hackers could harvest highly sensitive and/or market-critical corporate information, or even spread malware via a file transfer feature.
Hackers know users are looking en masse for ways to communicate during government lockdowns. By creating legitimate-looking Zoom links and websites, they could steal financial details, spread malware or harvest Zoom ID numbers, allowing them to infiltrate virtual meetings. One vendor discovered 2,000 new domains had been registered in March alone, over two-thirds of the total for the year so far.
- Ensure Zoom is always on the latest software version
- Build awareness of Zoom phishing scams into user training programmes. Users should only download the Zoom client from a trusted site and check for anything suspicious in the meeting URL when joining a meeting
- Ensure all home workers have anti-malware including phishing detection installed from a reputable vendor
- Ensure you also generate a meeting ID automatically for recurring meetings
- Set screen-sharing to “host only” to prevent uninvited guests from sharing disruptive content
- Don’t share any meeting IDs online
- Disable “file transfers” to mitigate risk of malware
- Make sure that only authenticated users can join meetings
- Lock the meeting once it’s started to prevent anyone new joining
- Use waiting room feature, so the host can only allow attendees from a pre-assigned register
- Play a sound when someone enters or leaves the room
- Allow host to put attendees on hold, temporarily removing them from a meeting if necessary”