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Encryption for Mobile and IoT Devices Is More Critical Now than Ever Before [Encryption Digest 58]

Encryption for Mobile and IoT Devices Is More Critical Now than Ever Before [Encryption Digest 58]

April 2, 2021 | Alexa Hernandez

No business can be successful without an encryption strategy that fully encompasses security  across all human users and machine identities, but the pandemic has made the need for encryption even larger than anyone could have anticipated. Overnight the entire world was forced to move corporations, school, government, commerce and social lives entirely online.  Organizations with lapses in security have never been more vulnerable.

One such lapse in security was discovered earlier this week in Netop Vision Pro, a monitoring software that schools have adopted to take control of their online learning sessions. McAfee, an American global security software company, disclosed multiple vulnerabilities that “could be exploited by a hacker to gain full control over students’ computers”. It was discovered that all network traffic in their virtual classrooms was entirely unencrypted.

Netop has stated their intention to roll out network encryption as soon as possible, but it does speak to a deeper problem. Increased instances of attack on IoT and mobile devices means that we all have to adapt the way we think about encryption to this new, increasingly virtual world. The recent rise in end-to-end encryption of mobile devices and IoT digital certificates are a move in the right direction to boost network security.

Why is end-to-end encryption vital for mobile device security?

IT teams have a big enough challenge encrypting corporate machines and enforcing security policies within devices they control, but the rise of mobile phone usage for official business has increased tenfold thanks to the pandemic. Employees downloading company email and sensitive data to their unsecured, personal devices creates a massive encryption vulnerability that hackers can easily exploit. This is why comprehensive, end-to-end mobile security is an absolutely vital for organization’s today to maintain an enterprise standard of encryption.

End-to-end encryption protects messages by ensuring that only the device that receives a message is able to encrypt it, which is why it has been widely adapted by large organizations to prevent data leaks and threats. End-to-end encryption maintains the integrity of your communications by ensuring that even if a third-party attempts to gain access or alter your messages, their communications will become corrupted.

The average cell phone today contains passwords, emails, location data, bank information, and more. Add in corporate emails, confidential documents, and sensitive information that often comes from working from one’s phone, and mobile devices become a highly attractive target for hackers. Staying alert to phishing emails and malware threats is always helpful, but end-to-end encryption of mobile devices is the only way to ensure private connections between remote employees.

Embracing IoT digital certificates to raise the bar for network security

Another increasingly common point of attack for hackers are IoT devices, used as easy network entry points. IT experts have caught onto this trend and have begun employing IoT device certificates. According to a NetScout report, many IoT devices are under attack within 5 minutes of connecting to the internet!

But how do device certificates work in IoT? IT admins within an organization will register all privileged devices as valid, authorized users. Those devices will then be issued a certificate, and only devices using a certificate are able to access the organization’s private network. Even if a user’s machine is registered as valid, it will not be able to get on the network without a valid certificate.

IoT devices need to be protected by device certificates, as bad actors often use IoT devices as a network entry point for phishing, malware, and more. That makes IoT machine identity management a must-have rather than a good-to-have security solution—especially compared to third-party CA management or other security technologies.

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About the author

Alexa Hernandez
Alexa Hernandez

Alexa is the Web Marketing Specialist at Venafi.

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