Apps and Smart Appliances May Pose a Significant Cyber Security Threat

June 15, 2017

Despite the fact that 79 per cent of surveyed UK organisations have some type of cyber defences, 57 per cent of those organisations have experienced at least one cyber attack within the last 12 months, according to a recent survey from multinational defence and security company, BAE Systems. On average, these cyber attacks cost organisations £330,000. However, that figure does not include the cost of business disruptions or the loss of reputation.

These numbers are so high because hackers have more routes than ever to breach your defences—including mobile apps and smart appliances. Whilst mobile apps—such as Slack, Evernote, WhatsApp and Dropbox—may help your employees complete their tasks more efficiently, your IT department may not approve them for official use due to the potential security threats that they pose. Some apps—such as those that are cloud-based—are often granted access to the mobile’s camera, location, data and contacts, which means that a cyber criminal could hack the device through an app and spy on your organisation.

Similarly, smart appliances—including TVs, thermometers and refrigerators—can also provide cyber criminals with access to your organisation. Not only can cyber criminals spy on your organisation through the microphones installed in your smart appliances, but they could also adjust the settings on the devices, which could potentially impact efficiency and quality.

To ensure that cyber criminals cannot gain access to your organisation via mobile apps and smart appliances, follow these four best practices:

  1. 1.    Develop a mobile device management programme.
  2. 2.    Encrypt and install anti-virus software on all corporate mobile and smart devices.
  3. 3.    Explain to your employees what corporate data can and cannot be shared with third-party apps.
  4. 4.    Have IT monitor what apps and data are being accessed on company networks.
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