A Mobile-First strategy in today’s world is in essence a paradigm shift, but one that stretches even farther than our current view of software apps and the internet – it is the idea of FIRST thinking about the way information will be digested and the tools that will be used from the mobile device user’s […]
Most of us are pretty savvy about spotting virus and phishing attempts (if not, keep an eye out for the upcoming blog “Spotting Mobile Virus and Phishing Attempts”). What we don’t seem to know are all the ways in which viruses are triggered. The word trigger in this article is just a fancy term for ways to start viruses AKA malware. Most people also understand that they need to trigger something that will infect their system, like “accepting” a program or running an EXE file. But did you know that NOW viruses can be triggered by sound, vibrational signaling or light?!
Here is a great resource article covering a study that tested these new triggering methods. My following comments are derived from this paper.
New Triggers for Mobile Viruses: Why is this important to you?
Though this blog covers viruses on mobile devices, there are similarities with the same kind of viruses found on PCs. The reason for this is that both PCs and smartphones have an operating system. The operating system and programs that run on the devices is what viruses rely on to do their damage.
Whether for the PC or a mobile device, the similarities of most viruses lay in purpose which is to be disruptive to the functioning of the device and destroy or capture information.
But these new triggers for viruses seem to be a step up. They are targeting just mobile devices which tend to carry just as much and in some cases MORE confidential information than a PC. Think about it – credit cards, banking information, company confidential documents, phone numbers, addresses, etc. So be aware of the information you store on your phone.
New Triggers for Mobile Viruses: Why use sensors to trigger viruses?
Typically the way a virus works is just like the common cold. It can be passed from person to person and in this case, device to device. In most cases viruses are attached to executable files (these are files that start programs). This means that a virus can exist on your device and not infect it until a human action has occurred to start the infection (for instance running a program that contains a virus) and just like a cold, human action can keep passing the virus along unknowingly via files, emails and attachments.
Traditional virus attacks use TCP/IP (or simply stated, a connection to the internet) to launch via some triggering event or by human interaction of starting an infected program. Both of these methods can be detected by anti-virus software which monitors network packets and scans executable files before they are run.
The unique advantage of these new triggers is that they are harder to detect. Plus, traditional triggers for viruses may require an internet connection whereas with the new triggers do not nor do they require a human interaction to start it.
New Triggers for Mobile Viruses: How can I protect my device?
To protect yourself, continue to follow standard protocol.
1) Don’t open EXE files that were sent to you anonymously
2) Don’t fill out forms asking for confidential information if unsolicited
3) When downloading a new application pay attention to the type of information that the application can collect from your device.
The bad news is that it is very hard for any of today’s anti-virus software to detect the new mobile viruses that are triggered by sound, vibrational signaling or light. I reviewed a couple of mobile anti-virus software that I like and from what I could see they do not have anything in place to detect these viruses.
New Triggers for Mobile Viruses: The Summary
My guess would be, as backed up by the study, that due to the proliferation of mobile viruses there is a good chance that some mobile devices may already have viruses that can be triggered using this technique.
The good news, if any, is that currently these types of attacks are rare and somewhat sophisticated to create. So at this point I don’t advise locking your phone in a sound and light proof case. But it is best to keep aware of the threats that exist for your mobile device.
It’s all about perception, isn’t it? Since the dot.com era, the ‘mom and pop’ shop has tried to appear larger and more established to convey stability and credibility. Large companies long for the deeper relationships with customers that small companies have. Mobility is an unprecedented game-changer, allowing your business to alter market perception – here’s how. Read more
Mobility is an essential part of today’s workforce. To hear of an employee who does not have access to corporate email remotely is nearly unheard of. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile voice and data revenue will exceed one trillion dollars a year by 2014. The desire and necessity for increased mobility has brought about drastic changes in the new corporate landscape: the desire to utilize a device of their choosing, and the necessity to use this mobility to attract a younger, more tech-savvy workforce. Being chained to one’s desk has quickly become a thing of the past, while both mobility and productivity are on the upswing. A study performed by Ipso-Reid shows that BlackBerry smartphone users can turn 53 minutes of downtime into productive work time each day, increasing overall productivity by nearly 30%. Increased workforce mobility has brought about many changes within the enterprise, permanently altering the terrain of the corporate landscape.
There are obvious changes that mobility impacts upon the corporate environment, and some not-so-obvious effects.
- Cost Savings
- Office Equipment – because a combination of laptops, tablets, and smartphones can more than compensate for a desktop computer and land line phone, the savings on office equipment is straight forward. In the past, many corporations have overspent in providing workers both a laptop and desktop computer, in addition to a land line and cellular telephone. Increased mobility eliminates the need for unnecessary equipment.
- Office Space – in an economy where every cent of cost savings is precious, managers can realize returns by downgrading or even eliminating office space.
- Time Saving – Employees without a commute typically start work earlier and finish work later.
- Increased Employee Responsiveness – mobile equipment enables employees the ability to respond more immediately to customer inquiries, complaints, and order fulfillment.
- Speed of Decision Making – reaching employees nearly anywhere, at nearly anytime, greatly reduces critical decision making time.
- Expedited Issue Resolution – nothing strengthens customer retention than the expedited response to problems and customer issues. Increased mobility equates to increased accessibility.
- Cost savings on commuting – mobility is greener when taking vehicle emissions and gas necessary for a daily commute to the office into account.
- Security Risks – adopting a mobility strategy entrusts employees to respect corporate data and adhere to security standards.
- Network and Customer Data Security Concerns – allowing employees the ability to access highly confidential customer information poses a serious security risk without the appropriate enforceable policies. Additionally, opening up secure corporate networks, whether via VPN or other mechanism, exposes the enterprise to a cornucopia of nightmarish security threats.
- Lack of Mobile Device Management , or MDM Policies – not widely adopted or implemented
- Employees disconnected from teams and corporate environment
- Lack of Technical Support for Mobile Employees
Whether the benefits outweigh the negatives, there is no question that mobility has drastically transformed corporate culture. Taking advantage of the cost savings, cultural benefits, and recruiting tools a mobile work policy allows will no doubt keep top talent and attract fresh, new talent to the enterprise. Reap the benefits of mobility with solid Mobile Device Management and enforceable mobile security protocols.
 Gartner, Gartner Says Mobility will be a Trillion Dollar Business by 2014, October 21, 2010
 Durso, James, Going Mobile: Redefining the Meaning of Workforce Mobility, October 13, 2010
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A telecommunications enterprise is a complex and multi-faceted organization that is both a strategic necessity and a likely source of economic drain. Most companies aren’t aware of the cost outflow within their wireless telecom environment, or if they are, managers don’t have the time or resources to identify and correct the source. The lack of focus on the daily cost management of telecom can continue and snowball into significant losses to the enterprise.
Identifying and managing these areas of loss could most certainly be a full time job. The problem with continued waste is that most enterprises do not have resources focused on the day to day management of wireless telecom expenses. Wireless telecom cost drains can be obvious, some can be insidious, and still others need to be drudged up to the surface. All, however, require time and a tedious level of commitment to overcome.
As the list of unmanaged wireless telecom expenses can be lengthy, a good place to start is with the lowest-hanging fruit – those problems that are the easiest to resolve and which can reap immediate savings. In review of wireless expenses, immediacy of savings can best be realized by reviewing some key areas of your wireless expenses, move on to dig up the stealthy issues that contribute to cost outflow.
Plan Pooling and Optimization
Own pool optimization by specifying if and when automatic optimizations occur to improve device performance – don’t let this run unmanaged.
Unless your mobile user base has an unlimited plan for voice, data and texting, monthly overages can voraciously eat away at your budget. Overages comprise one of the most common problems amongst mid-sized organizations today. Research and review who your mobile user is, what he/she will be utilizing the mobile device for (cellular telephone, email, presentations, web browsing, etc.) and optimize a monthly plan that will be built around users’ needs.
Excessive Roaming Charges
If your mobile users are racking up roaming charges then it is time to re-evaluate their plan. Move them to a global plan that will enable them to utilize their device when and where necessary. Roaming charges nonsensically creep into expenses but can be easily avoided.
Unnecessary Add-on Features and Services
Another source of escape occurs by providing an employee with too much functionality or service that goes unused. Allowing unnecessary add-ons such as insurance, roadside assistance, or visual voicemail will only ensure that telecom cost creep will continue to erode your bottom line. Review each mobile user contract to determine which features are absolutely necessary for him or her to perform their duties, and eliminate the rest.
Zero Usage Devices
One of the more common problems, the management of devices that are no longer utilized, such as those that belong to terminated employees or those that have been replaced or upgraded, requires more time and effort to optimize, but can result in modest cost savings. Having a strictly enforced mobile user policy in place that addresses zero usage device management is essential.
Unused or Underutilized Data and Text Plans
Rectifying what is actually billed with what is used is an arduous task but one that can pay big dividends. Assess those plans that are underutilized or not used at all to determine what can be eliminated or consolidated. Get rid of those plans that are unnecessary. Perform an audit amongst your mobile user base to determine the exact nature of plan usage on an employee by employee basis to ensure the best plan fit.
Mobile App/Subscription Slamming
This happens to be one of the most common areas of cost drain amongst mid-sized businesses with 500-5,000 employees. In mobile app or subscription ‘slamming’, customers are switched to another telephone provider without their knowledge or permission. These types of misleading sales practices among mobile service providers can lead to intentional fee increases and can also change the terms of service. If not carefully monitored and guarded against, slamming practices can unknowingly increase costs and detrimentally alter contracted terms.
Tighter controls and regular audits can make a significant difference to the bottom line of a mid-sized company. In auditing and assessing wireless expenses in corporate mobile telecom environments, these seven points are quite common among nearly 70% of companies we work with.
Get your Telecom Outsourcing Assessment now to see if any of these items apply to your business, and follow our blog for additional articles relating to Turnkey Telecom Management™ (TTM™) and Telecom Outsourcing.
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