10 terrifying phone, tablet and laptop security scares

Cyber-crime is on the rise. Every business, regardless of size, is more at risk than ever - evidenced by high-profile TalkTalk, Ashley Madison and Dropbox breaches. When it comes to WannaCry and Petya, one successful attack can cause havoc.

4 August 2017

You never know where the next attack may come from. There are many unforeseen ways that hackers can target your business and in this blog, we take a look at 10 that you may not know about.

#1 – Device loss leads to business cost
It’s all too easy for your employees’ devices to get lost or stolen. If the device in question is unsecured this can lead to a serious data breach, especially if the device has access to your Cloud servers, corporate applications and business emails.

#2 – Phoning it in; the trojan horse in your pocket
Malware is on the increase, and one particular strain allows hackers to access your employees' device accounts. It's an advertising fraud scheme which automatically purchases apps, and can earn criminals more than £240,000 a month. Unfortunately, if your company gives employees access to their App Store account, this can grant the hackers free reign over their purchasing accounts.

#3 – Light fingers aren’t just good for typing
More than 250,000 laptops and smartphones are lost or stolen every year; indeed, in the year to February 2014, the number of stolen devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets in the UK totalled 290,651. But even this inherently physical crime can constitute a breach of cyber-security. In January 2017, payment processing firm GoCardless found themselves victims, with thieves making off with 19 laptops. Alarmingly, the devices were not encrypted and contained customer personal data – everything needed for phishing scams or even identity theft.

#4 – Mobile payment - the Contactless curse
With more and more retailers accepting Contactless payments, "tap and pay" card purchases are easier than ever before. Technology has now evolved to the stage where we can use our mobile phones just like we would a Contactless card. But when employees pay using their device, there’s also a chance of data theft or installation of malicious software by a third party.

#5 – Malicious Wi-Fi Hotspots
When your employee is out and about - whether on a business trip or working remotely - they are at risk of infection. The café, train station or public library they are working from might have PublicWi-Fi available, but this doesn’t mean the Hotspot is secure. Malware could infect your employee’s device, resulting in a costly data leak. The Wi-Fi might have been free, but it was an expensive outing for your business.

#6 – An app a day takes your revenue away
Apps provide the software that makes employees more effective on their device, but your employees might not realise that not all apps are legitimate. They may have downloaded an app such as a mobile game from their App Store, not knowing that malicious code followed the download onto their device.

#7 – Curse of the competitor
Your most valuable sales representative decides to call it quits, announcing that they’re joining your closest competitor. They hand back their laptop and the keys to the company car, but they own the smartphone that contains corporate documents, notes from CRM and the contact details of your prospects. Not only is your data now unsecured, it’s potentially in the hands of your rivals.

#8 – Phishing for vulnerabilities
During their lunch hour, many employees like to check their personal email. They might smile as they see an amazing email offer from their favourite online shop, clicking the link to take advantage of the offer but not realising that they have given access to your servers and data to phishing scammers. It just goes to show that some of the biggest security risks to a business are the employees themselves.

#9 – Putting all your eggs in the wrong basket
For ease, your employees might have a common practice of using unauthorised storage platforms such as Dropbox. When corporate data is moved off the premises it becomes vulnerable, proven by Dropbox’s highly-publicised hack that saw 68 million people have their details leaked. This is a more common problem than you would think, with 87% of senior managers admitting to regularly uploading company files to a personal email or Cloud account.

#10 – Curiosity killed the computer
Your employee finds an unknown USB stick in the office and don’t know who it belongs to. Thinking they might find a clue as to the owner, they plug it in to their computer. Suddenly, everything shuts down; the USB stick is infected and will infect any device it gets plugged into. Hackers now have access to all data and information on your servers. Protecting your business from malicious USB sticks sounds obvious, but one in ten businesses do not have a security strategy for situations like this.

While the threats above are all too real, there are programs you can utilise to keep your business secure such as Microsoft 365 - a brand new offering that encompasses Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Office 365. With integrated intelligent security, transparency and legal compliance Microsoft 365 has everything you need to defend your business against hackers.

Find out how GCI and Microsoft 365 can transform your organisation; contact us at enquiries@gcicom.net to find out more.

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