Security And Privacy Frameworks For Mobile Applications And Their Devices

April 10, 2019 in Education

In today’s fast-growing digital world, securing and protecting our information and data has become the priority across all segments of life and different industry segments. The recent attacks identified as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) came like a thunderbolt on the stability and security of the Internet of things. Such security breaches can be crippling and devastating for an era that is heavily dependent on the sharing and disseminating of information over the internet.

The use of mobile devices is growing at a rapid phase around the world and most organizations today have mobile apps meant to access mission-critical and sensitive data. Hence it becomes crucially important now than any other time to develop a broader view of the galaxy of mobile security eco-system and get to know everything that pertains to mobile security. If we need to protect our mobile solutions, we must understand the importance of the saying, “Information is the most powerful weapon” and take the right steps leading to foolproof privacy and security of the mobile apps and their devices.

What is the challenge?

Due to the absence of unified endpoint management (UEM), threats to mobile enterprises are fast becoming frequent and more complex. Cybercriminals are today developing sophisticated malware. The incidents of a security breach are too many today that make it difficult for the efforts to focus and take viable actions. According to Ponemon Institute, over 84 percent users depend on the same smartphone for work as well as for personal use. While this trend can significantly impact the user experience, it can also challenge the capabilities of the IT departments to secure access to the data on enterprise systems. Given this environment, preserving user privacy and data security has become a colossal requirement in front of us.

What is to be secured?

Mobile devices help store a lot many kinds of data both personal and enterprise in nature — sensitive information like phone numbers, medical information, credit card information, authentication details like usernames and passwords, home addresses and others besides the vast amount of enterprise data too. Data protection is also essential from protecting identity since identity theft can be used for unauthorized access to information that can be eventually stolen or compromised with.

Mobile devices feature integrated hardware components for the sake of supporting a wide range of I/O mechanisms. Some of the communication mechanisms among them are wireless while some include physical connectors like SIM cards, SD cards, power, and synchronization cables. Both the wireless and wired communication mechanisms employed by the mobile devices make them vulnerable to different kinds of threats which must be secured for the overall security of the devices and apps installed on them.

An overview of the mobile security ecosystem

Threats faced by mobile apps can be grouped into two categories:

  • Software vulnerabilities that can invade the data captured within the mobile app that runs on the mobile operating system.
  • Malicious apps, invasive privacy apps, and malware-based threats that can damage the device and mobile service.

There are several kinds of authentication mechanisms used by mobile apps. Also, there are a variety of authentication protocols for accessing devices, remote networks, remote services, and enterprise systems. If the mobile apps are vulnerable to invasion, compromise, and exploitation, it would mean a very high risk of compromising with the enterprise data and sensitive personal data. Hence we can say mobile app security is all about protecting the data in the mobile app itself.

How to secure mobile applications

While creating mobile apps, their architecture and design are the most crucial first step to be attended for security measures.

Aspects to consider while securing mobile apps

  • Data transfer encryption
  • Data at rest encryption
  • A device storage and cloud storage
  • Validation of input data
  • Salting and hashing passwords
  • Use of tokens and keys
  • Authenticating and integrating corporate identity management
  • Enterprise mobility management security policies
  • VPN connectivity needs
  • Backend integration
  • On-premise and on cloud storage
  • File permissions
  • Auditing info and log files
  • Regulatory compliances

Vulnerable components in the mobile eco-system

  • Mobile operating systems
  • Device drivers
  • SD cards
  • SIM card
  • Interoperability and mobile carrier infrastructure

Enterprise Mobility Management

EMM systems are the most popular methods of managing employee mobile devices in an enterprise atmosphere. They feature a mixture of mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM)functionalities. The main focus of MDM is to monitor and secure mobile devices.

On the other hand, MAM focuses on app distribution and controlling app access by the users. EMM systems are configured in such a way they will only allow the running of whitelisted apps. They also feature possibilities like lock screen, remote data wipe, and disabling some device peripherals like the camera. Different vendors go by different sets of policies. So it is crucial to compare between their products and review what is different between them. They are implemented through SDKs that the developers use while building apps. Alternatively, they can also be implemented via wrapper mechanisms that are built on mobile app binaries.

Four viable approaches to securing mobile apps

Some Leading Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) Technology Solutions

AI to gather insights relevant to the context and recommend the right kind of responses

Mobile threat management to detect and destroy the malware on the infected endpoints

Portfolio to provide secure access to enterprise apps and stop data leakage

Mobile application security to safeguard the proprietary data in enterprise apps

Identity management to facilitate secure single sign (SSO) access to web and cloud apps

Best Practices in enterprise mobile security

Any instance of the security breach or successful attack on enterprise mobile apps can mean financial loss, regulatory or legal infractions and the defeat of reputation. Hence efforts must be taken to build many layers of protection around critical data. This will ensure that if one layer is breached, the hackers can still not gain access to the valuable data. Here are some best practices in the lines of promoting enterprise mobile security.

  • Installing anti-malware software on mobile devices
  • Securing mobile communications end-to-end
  • Implementing strong controls over authentication and passwords
  • Close monitoring of third-party software
  • Developing independent and completely secured mobile gateways
  • Implementing fool-proof locking mechanisms to secure mobile devices
  • Security audits and penetration tests for mobiles on a regular basis

Concluding Remarks

Mobile security has become a huge topic today with its own exclusive issues and challenges. They are all a part of the infrastructure that must be created to protect sensitive information, mission-critical data, assets, business, reputation, finances and the larger interests of people and organizations. This calls for taking the right actions to prevent losses and mitigate risks. Once a major step is taken in this line successfully, enterprises and individuals can reap the incredible benefits of mobile phones in today’s digital era. Failing to exercise the prudent measures, compliance protocols and best practices will endanger the enterprise and personal mobile use environment.

Hard or Soft Skills: Which Are More Important in Tech

January 11, 2018 in Education, tools

Well, the question appears to be a no-brainer that when it comes to tech, you need hard skills more than the soft skills. Engineers and technocrats spend most of their learning curve acquiring hard skills so that they could become indispensable to the job, and also irreplaceable, at least up to certain extent.

There are many arguments and statements in the tech, where these professionals complain that their soft skills are being given more importance than the ones that they feel more confident about.

Why so?

No doubt, the hard skills are indispensable when it comes to the tech world, yet when it comes to working collaboratively in a team environment, there are skills (called soft) that would be needed apart from the technical expertise. After all, it is people out there who would be working with you-you are never going to work with machines alone ever in your life.

Your emotional response, your interactivity, your openness—all these attributes of your personality are going to play an essential part in your tech life too. You can’t ignore them just as you can’t ignore being technically sound.

Consider working in a system

When you are working in a tech environment, believe that human beings are the elements of a system and there should b a proper communication channel between all of them. There would include agreements, there would be disagreements—there would be meetings, and there would be a decision based on data and information. All these functions of a healthy system require everybody to have specific soft skills. These can’t be ignored entirely just because the work environment is more tech than a human resource.

Bring a mixture of both

The magic lies in gaining both these skills when it comes to working in the tech environment because as you grow in your career and profile, you will have to deal more with people and less with machines. It always comes handy to know how to interact with people and how to influence them with your personality.

How to Avoid Having too many Ideas and Focus on the Best Ones

December 28, 2017 in Education, Startups

As an early business or startup owner, it is normal to have too many ideas for engagement or development. You are inherently looking to network, know, and gain insight from other people and activities, and therefore develop a tendency to think about or focus on more ideas whenever you get a fraction of free time from the central area of your operation.

Though, as mentioned earlier, it is a natural phenomenon, what is equally natural is that there is hardly any money or profit that you could make from these engagements and ideas, but you will feel tired, exhausted and often be ending up feeling baffled by the overwhelming concern that would have been giving to all of them.

Stop! Simply stop!

Instead, do this:

  1. Try pruning through the ideas and concentrate on 2-3 (maximum) best ones—the ones that satisfy your financial needs, and also keep stoking your creative ingenuity. Obviously, there is no need to kill that virus!
  2. Make these ideas work and keep the passion and zeal intact up to the level with which you started these ideas. The waning of interest and a lull period is the dangerous time when your mind will prod you to find more ideas. Pull the mind back and think creatively how to make these existing ideas work. Agreeably, there would be points where you will realize that any of your ideas may not be profitable after all, but that phase should be realized as quickly as possible.
  3. Try finding a connecting line between the ideas that you are working on. Maybe, you can think of them as complementary ideas or connected through the ideology, principle, context or theme etc. If you could achieve this connecting bridge, you will be able to find greater joy and satisfaction by pursuing these ideas together instead of working on completely different strategies that may eventually prove to be opposing each other.

5 Simple Tips that Help Improve User Testing

December 4, 2017 in Design, Education

Testing is indispensable when it comes to launching a new product or just releasing a new UX design. A product that has gone through a comprehensive and well-planned user testing mode stands a better chance of succeeding.

Here are five simple tips that can help you make sure you get the best results of the testing phase of your product:

    Decide what’re your objectives

Without clear objectives, a testing session may turn out to be futile and a waste of time and effort. Make sure you know what you are looking for: it may be the time taken by users to complete a particular task; it may be whether they can complete a particular task successfully or not. Whatever be your objective, outline it.

    Prepare your questions well

Before you have some testing session going on, you need to prepare the questions which you are looking to answer. Prioritize them and set time for every task, and also for the whole testing session.

    Get some users that represent your actual audience

A lot of companies launch their new design or product to a limited set of their already established user-base. This helps in getting the right kind of representation for proper user feedback of the new design. (Don’t limit these users to be your friends and family members only because their feedback might have a hint of bias)

    More may not be needed

Don’t get your testing users in more numbers—rather, a lesser number constituting serious and concerned users will provide you the major chunk of feedback, issues, and problems that your design might have. So, focus on ensuring the quality of users—quantity does not matter much.

    Let them play

Don’t explain to the user what they need to do—that’s what your design should be able to convey. If you interrupt the testing users with numerous suggestions or inputs, you are bringing the element of bias in the testing session, which is not a healthy practice for the best outcome of UX design.

A Cultivated Mindset & Charlotte Mayor congratulate Charlotte Lab School students for creating and developing start-ups

January 18, 2017 in Community, Education, Stem, Uncategorized

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]If you didn’t know by now, ACM loves helping out in the community. This past August we started an after school program called Tech All-Stars an elementary education program focused on STEM education, at Charlotte Lab School, a new charter school located in uptown Charlotte. In the program third through fifth grade students receive a Chromebook, learn the skills needed to create a business, and then start a business of their own. Not only did the students develop concepts for their own businesses, they also created websites to brand their services.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”24559″ img_size=”full” qode_css_animation=””][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”24558″ img_size=”full” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Students had a chance to present the business they created in front of their parents, business leaders, community leaders, and Charlotte’s very own mayor, Jennifer Roberts! The students were so creative in the businesses they created. We had a party planner, a bracelet designer, sports store and many more! It was also quite amazing to have the Mayor attend, hand out prizes to the winners, as well as share some great information on how Charlotte uses technology and has a need for software programmers. We are really excited about what it means to invest in the next generation. To help them unlearn the untruths we’ve told them about success and get them to build their minds organically.

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