Antivirus Software Advantages and Limitations
Apps are part of everyday life for the majority of people at work, and at home.
There’s an app for everything nowadays: you can watch your old high school friends’ lives play out, do your accountancy, watch a movie, and more. Anything you can think of, there’s probably an app for it.
But, apps are still susceptible to cybersecurity threats. So, you’ve got to do an app risk assessment to determine if the app is worth the risk to your business.
But don’t worry, this isn’t another app you need to get: these are just some methods you can use to stay safe when using apps.
Protect your business by making sure you and everybody else in your business know which apps are most at risk and what they are at risk of.
To have an automatic app risk assessment in your head, you need to understand the most common cybersecurity threats which plague apps.
The Most Common Cybersecurity Threats:
Your employees will use apps in your business all the time; both on desktop and mobile. To know what apps are the most susceptible to cybersecurity threats, you must know the most common cybersecurity threats to any app.
Malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks
Malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks are among the most common and dangerous cybersecurity threats faced by individuals and organizations alike when it comes to their apps.
Malware refers to malicious software designed to infiltrate systems, disrupt operations, and steal sensitive information.
Malware can have severe consequences for apps, including unauthorized access to sensitive data, app hijacking, performance degradation, privacy breaches, propagation to other apps or devices, and the display of unauthorized ads or click fraud.
This means your business can have unauthorised access to sensitive data if stored in the app, or can access sensitive data if stored on another app that it can access. Either way, your business’s private data can be stolen.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data and holds it hostage until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware can severely impact apps by encrypting app data and rendering them inaccessible which can disrupt app functionality, compromise user data, and potentially lead to financial losses for both app developers and users.
This can effect your business if your business is using certain apps to operate. If ransomware is used, your business’s/ customers’ private information can be compromised, or you can be out of service until the ransomware is removed from systems.
Phishing attacks involve deceptive tactics, to trick users into revealing their personal information or login credentials. These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software, human behaviour, and trust to gain unauthorized access to systems and wreak havoc on individuals and businesses.
A phishing attack on an app can affect your business by allowing malicious actors access to your apps and login credentials. If they can get into your login credentials, what can they get access to? The loss of sensitive information across your entire business would be devastating.
Impact of Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity threats have far-reaching and significant impacts on individuals, organizations, and even society as a whole.
The consequences of cybercrime to your business can range from financial losses and reputational damage to disruption of operations and compromise of sensitive information.
However, even as an individual, the apps you use could be a risk to your business. If you use the same login details for an app on your phone as something else in your business, unauthorised users could have access to your business.
And from there, there would be an extreme risk to your business when considering an app risk assessment.
Every app you go on; both as an individual and an employee in your business, you should be mindful about your app risk assessment. Even if you do not go on a risky app on your work computer/ phone, you could still put the business at risk depending on how close your login details are.
It is crucial to recognize the profound impact of cybersecurity threats and prioritize proactive measures to prevent and mitigate their potential damage for both you as an individual and your business.
The Evolving Nature of Cyber Threats
Cyber threats are constantly evolving, adapting, and becoming more sophisticated.
The landscape of cyber attacks is characterized by the emergence of new attack ‘vectors‘, innovative techniques, and the increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence by malicious actors.
Cybercriminals continuously exploit vulnerabilities in software, hardware, and human behaviour to carry out targeted attacks. And the rapid expansion of technologies such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile devices has created new avenues for cyber threats to damage your business.
Meaning, it is essential for individuals, organizations, and security professionals as a whole to stay updated on the latest trends and continuously enhance their cybersecurity measures.
Collaboration, information sharing, and robust defence strategies are crucial to effectively combat the ever-changing nature of cyber threats.
In your business, I’m sure you and your team will use apps every day but apps are no different to anything else; they are also extremely at risk of being compromised.
But, likely, apps won’t be the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to cybersecurity threats. Email and websites, yes, but apps? Not really something you think about!
However, any of the apps you use on a daily basis can be hacked, and they can come with some inherent vulnerabilities.
This is something we have just seen recently as well. The VoIP communication app that we use every day had its new software update hacked; but luckily for us, we had an alert system on our endpoints and were able to restore the old version of the app before anything came out of the vulnerability.
However, when it comes to apps being hacked, not every business can be as lucky as us (unless they prepare).
So, it may be time to start double-checking apps before downloading/ updating…
Your app risk assessment can help with this. But you need to know the factors which make apps vulnerable. These are:
The App Ecosystems and Inherent Risks
The app ecosystem, consisting of various platforms, operating systems, and app marketplaces, presents inherent risks that contribute to app vulnerabilities. There are so many options for apps, on so many different platforms that the sheer potential for malicious actors to distribute malicious or counterfeit apps is great.
Typically in the development process, there are a few common vulnerabilities that come out from bad practices. These are:
- Failing to encrypt sensitive data/ using weak encryption methods: this can expose user information to unauthorized access.
- Including weak authentication and authorization: this can lead to unauthorized access and account compromise.
- Lacking secure coding practices: this can leave doors open for attackers to exploit software flaws and execute malicious code.
Role of third-party libraries and components
Modern app development usually heavily relies on the use of third-party libraries and code to streamline the development process and enhance functionality.
However, these dependencies can introduce vulnerabilities if they are not regularly updated or if they themselves contain security flaws.
Overall, there are certain factors which influence vulnerabilities in apps for your app risk assessment. However, some apps are more susceptible to these vulnerabilities than others and you need to decide what is worth the risk for your business.
So, what apps are the most susceptible to cybercriminals?
What apps do you think have the biggest cybersecurity risks? Well, typically, gaming apps are the riskiest, whilst health and fitness apps have the least.
However, it all depends on the security measures implemented by the app developers.
No matter what type of app it is, if it isn’t built with advanced security measures, it is extremely susceptible to cybersecurity threats. And to make sure you and your employees keep your business safe, there are a few things you can do.
Gaming apps can be a source of entertainment for employees, but they can also introduce security vulnerabilities to business devices and networks if used in the office/ on a work device.
Educate your staff on the risks associated with downloading and using gaming apps, particularly from unofficial sources. Encourage them to stick to reputable app stores and avoid downloading unauthorized or pirated versions.
Moreover, you should remind employees to use strong and unique passwords for gaming accounts, enable two-factor authentication when available, and be cautious of in-app purchases.
Provide guidelines on how your employees can recognize and report any suspicious activities or potential malware infections related to gaming apps.
Social Media And Messaging Apps
Social media and messaging apps serve as platforms for communication, sharing personal information, and interacting with others. However, these apps also present risks including the potential for unauthorized access to user accounts, the spread of malware through malicious links or attachments, or privacy breaches where login details are stolen.
To protect your business, you need to educate your staff on best practices for using social media and messaging apps safely and securely.
Emphasize the importance of creating strong and unique passwords, turning on advanced privacy settings, and being cautious of sharing sensitive or confidential information. Teach them to be vigilant about suspicious links or messages and to report any potential security incidents.
Moreover, you should encourage your employees to maintain separate personal and professional social media accounts and provide guidelines on representing the business professionally and responsibly online.
E-commerce And Shopping Apps
E-commerce and shopping apps are commonly used by employees for personal purchases, however, they still have a purpose in business. For example, here at Jera, we will occasionally use Amazon for the things we need.
But when thinking of an app risk assessment, know that e-commerce apps still come with risks.
To keep your business safe, you need to stay vigilant about the type of e-commerce apps you work with as most e-commerce stores will typically handle your sensitive information such as payment details, addresses, and personal data.
You should also educate your staff on the importance of downloading apps from reputable sources and verifying the credibility of sellers before making purchases. Encourage them to use secure payment methods and avoid entering sensitive information on public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
But most importantly: remind employees to be cautious of phishing attempts or fake apps that mimic popular shopping platforms!
Mobile Banking And Financial Apps:
Mobile banking and financial apps are highly attractive targets for cybercriminals due to the potential for financial gain.
These types of apps often handle sensitive user information, including bank account details, credit card information, and personal identification numbers (PINs).
Ensure that you and your employees protect your mobile banking and financial apps by using strong and unique passwords, enabling biometric authentication if available, and keeping apps updated to the latest version.
Additionally, make sure you and your employees are cautious of phishing attempts that may mimic legitimate banking apps, you avoid accessing apps over public Wi-Fi networks, and you regularly monitor your account activity for any suspicious transactions.
IoT (Internet of Things) Apps
IoT apps enable employees to control connected devices in the workplace, such as smart devices or sensors. Cybercriminals are known to access IoT apps as they are not exempt from being held for ransom.
To ensure your IoT device’s cybersecurity, you should educate your staff on the potential security risks associated with IoT apps and devices. Emphasize the importance of changing default passwords, keeping firmware up to date, and implementing strong encryption methods for device communication.
Moreover, provide guidelines on secure network configurations and segment IoT devices from critical business systems to mitigate potential risks and stop hackers from getting further into your systems than the IoT devices.
Health and fitness apps
Health and fitness apps are popular among employees, but they can pose risks to data privacy and security if login details are similar to that of your business.
Emphasize the need to use strong and unique passwords, enable biometric authentication if available, and update apps regularly to protect against vulnerabilities. Advise employees to be cautious about sharing sensitive health information within these apps and provide guidelines on maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
Something To Remember
Any app you download could be filled with malware called ‘Keylogger’.
Keylogger allows cybercriminals to follow your every move on your computer/ mobile and with this, they can access your personal details from there if you log into anything.
If your employees download an app with Keylogger and then log in to any of your business accounts, the hacker will have access to your business. Potentially leaving you to be at the mercy of a cyberattack.
Overall, there are many different types of apps out there and some bring a greater risk to your business than others. However, every app that you or your employees go on, can bring risk to your business.
To do the best app risk assessment, make sure you understand the risk of each app above, and you follow the best practices to keep your business safe.
The best practices we’ve found for staying safe with apps are:
- Using strong unique passwords on each app.
- Staying mindful of app permissions and data-sharing policies.
- Keep all apps up-to-date for the latest cybersecurity patches.
- Avoid suspicious links and downloads.
- Be careful on public wifi networks.
Typically, it would be best common practice for your app risk assessment to remove the apps which are the biggest risk to your business: gaming and social media (unless they are necessary for your business/ to your employee).
If your employees cannot access gaming and social media apps, your business will have cybersecurity risks.
If you need more information on what apps are the most susceptible to cybersecurity threats, contact us here at Jera.
We can help you understand your app risk assessment and what you can do to stay safe when using apps. There are many apps out there looking to move your business forward, but you need to make sure you are looking at the right one.
We can also work with you to secure your cybersecurity with a number of solutions that are there to protect you.