By Dr. Andre Slonopas

wireless and mobile security


Wireless and mobile security methods, protocols, and technologies safeguard wireless networks and mobile devices against unauthorized access, abuse, and malicious assaults. Securing the invisible communication waves and the gadgets that use them is essential in the digital age of ubiquitous connection.

The conventional security boundary has disappeared as workplaces become more mobile-enabled and workers may access corporate resources from any location. This paradigm change requires strong wireless and mobile security to protect critical data and company continuity.


What Is Wireless Security?

In the contemporary office, wireless and mobile security are crucial. Mobile workforces boost productivity, flexibility, and employee happiness, giving companies an edge.

However, the danger of security breaches continues to increase. One weakness in an operating system, for example, may cost a lot in money, reputation, and legal trouble. The worldwide average cost of a customer data breach is millions, not to mention the incomprehensible cost of lost consumer and partner confidence.


Why Wireless and Mobile Device Security Matters

The lax wireless security measures and the resulting cyber assault that stole 45.6 million customer credit and debit card numbers from TJ Maxx® is an example of why wireless network security is important. One of this retailer's shops had inadequate Wi-Fi security and attackers leveraged the weak and outdated Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), allowing them to enter the network and install malware on point-of-sale (POS) systems.

TJ Maxx, however, is not a sole example of poor mobile security leading to significant damages. Attackers breached a prominent hotel chain when an illegal device was connected to their open Wi-Fi network and stole customers' personal data for months.

The news media has reported similar stories about major retailers like Office Max®, Barnes & Noble®, and others. These examples demonstrate the need for strong mobile security to prevent network access and safeguard data.

Wireless and mobile device dangers vary and evolve. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks may allow thieves to intercept data, implant malware, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks.

Unsecured mobile devices may be lost or stolen, exposing important company data. Phishing attempts increasingly target mobile users, taking advantage of smaller displays and careless mobile surfing to steal user credentials. The development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which sometimes lack security safeguards, further complicates security.

The emergence of a remote workforce and the sensitive data that now traverses countless private routers and network nodes make mobile security important. Remote and mobile security technology use raises security concerns.

Ideally, organizations must maintain security and promote security awareness among their leaders and employees. Failure to do so may lead to disastrous breaches that interrupt company operations and damage the trust that underpins consumer connections and corporate reputations in the digital marketplace.


Establishing Proper Wireless and Mobile Security Practices

A secure wireless network is essential to protecting an organization's operations and sensitive data. Wireless and mobile device threats and vulnerabilities may be mitigated by following wireless access point and network configuration best practices. For instance, complex passwords and network segmentation are required when setting access points to prevent the effect of hacked devices.

Wireless communication security relies on encryption. Using strong encryption protocols like Wi-Fi Protected Access, or WPA3, keeps wireless data unreadable to eavesdroppers. This type of encryption protocol is useful for securing sensitive data and ensuring the integrity of wirelessly connected mobile device data.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential for secure user access. A VPN encrypts network traffic to prevent interception of data transmitted over a “dirty” internet connection.

When mobile devices access corporate resources via public wireless networks, which are notoriously unsafe, a VPN is crucial. While the interception of sensitive information is still possible, the information will be encrypted and beyond the reach of a malicious actor. Mobile device security requires VPNs to connect to the company's data storage and internal systems.

Furthermore, mobile device security and its management are paramount. Keeping the operating systems and mobile apps on portable devices updated protects against known security vulnerabilities. It also involves installing security measures to prevent malicious malware from exploiting security flaws.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) are essential to a secure infrastructure. Security policies, remote wipes for stolen devices, and mobile application control are available. These technologies guarantee that only authorized devices may access the network and that compromised and other portable devices can be quickly removed to avoid data breaches.

Organizations need to educate users on mobile security threats and the hazards of careless use. Malicious software assaults and other security events may be greatly reduced by user knowledge. Data loss protection basics including phishing detection, software upgrades, and safe passwords should be taught to employees.

Lastly, a comprehensive network security method can regularly monitor unexpected network activity, which may signal a security vulnerability. Unexpected data patterns or access from unusual sites should be investigated to discover whether hostile actors are stealing data or committing other crimes.

Overall, wireless and mobile security requires organizations to establish rules, educate users, and monitor against emerging mobile security threats. Following best practices may considerably decrease security risks and safeguard sensitive assets from wireless attacks and vulnerabilities.


Mobile Devices and Mobile Device Management (MDM)

IT administrators need MDM to monitor and protect mobile devices that access corporate networks and data. Wireless and mobile devices and their associated security software rely on MDM solutions, particularly as the workforce grows more mobile. MDM enforces data protection standards across smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, making it crucial to device security.

Also, MDM simplifies mobile device enrollment. It restricts sensitive data access to corporate security-compliant devices.

To ensure each mobile device is properly set up from the start, MDM solutions automatically install business policies and fundamental features like Wi-Fi settings. They also help distribute and manage mobile apps, which is crucial to Mobile Application Management (MAM).

MDM involves continuous mobile device monitoring and control. Controlling device operating systems, loaded applications, and basic functions is crucial to ensure they have the latest security fixes that can mitigate and protect from malicious software designed to exploit known vulnerabilities. Maintaining software does not permit unauthorized users to gain access, so it enables data loss prevention and protects enterprises against known vulnerability-based malware attacks.

Data loss protection is crucial to MDM systems. MDM prevents unwanted access to customer and other sensitive data by controlling mobile device as well as the data stored and shared across the mobile platforms.

MDM may also block file transfers to insecure locations or the installation of malicious malware masquerading as genuine programs, especially on various Android devices. Data thieves frequently target Android devices due to their extensive usage.

In case a user’s mobile device is lost or stolen, MDM solutions are useful. IT security administrators may remotely lock or erase the information on a device (a remote wipe) to protect important data from falling into the wrong hands. This type of mobile security relies on the remote wipe to prevent data theft from lost or misplaced devices.

MDM includes user awareness and education on mobile security best practices and data protection. MDM systems technological protections may be strengthened by user knowledge of security issues, especially wireless computing.

Overall, MDM is essential for mobile security. MDM protects sensitive data in a mobile-centric era by centralizing mobile device management, enforcing security regulations, and responding quickly to compromised devices. MDM best practices safeguard mobile workers and improve an organization's security.


The Wireless Security Concentration at APU

American Public University (APU) is leading the way in training mobile security-savvy cybersecurity specialists. The number of mobile devices and the sensitive consumer data they access are rising, making this type of education crucial for cybersecurity students. Our cybersecurity degree specialization in mobile security is unique in that it teaches students the latest security risks and best practices for securing wireless and mobile devices.

As mobile device security becomes more critical, the University acknowledges the significance of tackling mobile device security threats. Device security is covered in depth, so students learn how to protect wireless and mobile devices against harmful malware and unauthorized data access.  

Students learn how to defend mobile and other wireless-connected devices via comprehensive courses that combine theory and practice. In an interconnected world where a poor wireless network connection might steal data, the curriculum emphasizes data security. Remote wipe and encryption are examined in a mobile device security approach.

Our wireless security concentration emphasizes cybersecurity's human side. User education is crucial to any security program. Future cybersecurity professionals learn the significance of user education in avoiding cyber events by fully understanding the behavioral aspects that might lead to security breaches.

We also combine theory and practice to teach graduates how to detect and mitigate mobile security issues. Students learn about frequent upgrades, social engineering threats, and end-to-end security for company and consumer data.

American Public University's cybersecurity degree with a wireless security specialization is designed to meet the growing need for mobile security experts. We are well positioned to educate and empower the next generation of cybersecurity experts by concentrating on wireless network security news and best practices toward proactive data protection.


Relevant Articles:

T.J. MAXX is a registered trademark of The TJX Companies, Inc.
OfficeMax is a registered trademark of The ODP Corporation.
Barnes & Noble is a registered trademark of Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Inc

About the Author
Dr. Andre Slonopas
Dr. Andre Slonopas is an Assistant Department Chair in the Department of Strategic Intelligence. From the University of Virginia, he holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering, a M.S. in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He also holds a plethora of relevant certifications, including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM®), Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP®), Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) and Project Management Professional (PMP®).

CISM is a registered trademark of Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Inc.
CISSP is a registered trademark of International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc.
PMP is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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