What are some activities that make mobile devices vulnerable to attack?

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report to Congress called,  “Information Security: Better Implementation of Controls for Mobile Devices Should Be Encouraged.”  The Report identified these four sources of mobile device attacks:

  • Software downloads: Unsuspecting users download malicious applications (apps) made to look like games, device patches, or utilities. Once the software is downloaded on a mobile device, unauthorized persons can access health information or system resources.
  • Visiting a malicious website: When a user visits a malicious website, malware is automatically downloaded. The app either downloads automatically or the user must take action (such as clicking on a hyperlink) to download the app.
  • Direct attack through the communication network: Some attacks try to intercept communications to and from the device to get unauthorized use of mobile devices and access to sensitive information.
  • Physical attacks: Unauthorized persons may be able to access and use health information stored on a lost or stolen device.

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Content last reviewed on January 15, 2013
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