What is Mobile Threat Defense (MTD)?

Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) refers to a comprehensive approach to protecting mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, from various security threats. These threats can include malware, phishing attacks, network vulnerabilities, and device exploits. MTD solutions typically involve a combination of security measures, such as antivirus software, mobile app management, network monitoring, and behavioral analysis, to detect and mitigate potential risks to mobile devices and the data they contain. The goal of MTD is to ensure the security and integrity of mobile devices and the sensitive information they access, transmit, and store.

What kind of attacks are mobile devices vulnerable to?

To understand just how important MTD is, it’s necessary to become familiar with just some of the most common types of danger that mobile devices face.

Security threats from mobile apps

When end-users download applications that appear to be legitimate, but turn out to be spyware or malware that threaten the security of the device and can steal data, for example.

Security threats from the web

Where end-users access websites that on the face of it, are legitimate, but in reality conceal security threats that could, for example, download malicious content onto that user’s device.

Mobile network security threats

Where an end-user connects to an open WiFi network, for example, which gives cyberattackers unfettered access to their data. This can also happen in cases of ‘network spoofing’, where cybercriminals lure users to connect to what appears to be a free WiFi access point but is actually a trap.

Device security threats

Device security is about the physical device itself. If an end-user misplaces their device or it gets stolen, this can pose a serious security risk to their employer’s network.

Phishing attacks

Where cyberattackers convince users to share their personal (or professional) data with them. The most common types are SMS Phishing and Voice Phishing.

How does MTD work?

MTD solutions typically operate at three levels: device, applications, and network.

At device level, MTD is constantly monitoring for anomalies or unusual activity that could be caused by malicious apps, for example. It will also check your operating system and the configuration of your device.

At application level, MTD again checks for unusual activity such as data leaks. MTD will also analyze code and check for grayware and malware.

On a network level, MTD monitors for known threats and checks network traffic for suspicious activity such as man-in-the-middle threats, where a cyberattacker steals personal or private data.

When and if a threat is detected, the MTD will send a notification to the end-user advising them of appropriate next steps. MSPs and dedicated security teams will have the ability to constantly monitor risks, threats, and activity across the mobile devices operating in their network.

Benefits of using MTD

Robust security

Implementing MTD will strengthen your cybersecurity infrastructure, especially where you have a BYOD policy in place.

Efficient response to threats

Organizations that use MTD are able to react to threats or cyberattacks more quickly and with more agility.

Better understanding of your organization’s risk profile

MTD gives you greater insights into your risk profile and existing vulnerabilities. This means you’ll be able to pre-emptively address and reduce your high-risk areas.

MDM vs MTD

A common presumption is that MDM and MTD are essentially the same things. They’re not. MDM stands for Mobile Device Management, and as its name suggests, it is a management tool for devices in your network. Critically, however, MDM does not address cybersecurity threats that may affect your devices. For this reason, even if you already have MDM in place, you should still consider implementing MTD.

How to choose your MTD solution

When choosing the right MTD solution for your organization, there are a couple of factors you should consider:

Compatibility

You’ll need to ensure that your chosen MTD solution supports your mobile platform. For example, if all your devices are Android, you’ll need to make sure that your MTD is set up for the Android ecosystem.

Integration

Remember, your MTD will form part of your cybersecurity and IT management infrastructure. You’ll want to make sure that your chosen MTD integrates well with your existing management solutions.

Why you should use MTD

Mobile devices aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their role and importance in our daily lives are only growing, meaning they’re becoming increasingly lucrative and attractive targets for cyberattacks.

With the prevalence of BYOD policies driving the confluence of personal and professional devices, the need for robust security protocols is bigger than ever. In addition, as mobile devices are being used more and more as secure digital IDs to access organization networks, enterprises need to take appropriate measures to protect themselves. MTD is the logical solution to this growing risk and will help to strengthen your security protocols instantly, helping you adapt to an ever-changing risk landscape.

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