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enterprise mobility

Researchers discover critical Android pattern lock vulnerability

At Tech Orchard, we’ve spoken with clients and written about the importance of taking precautionary security measures to protect mobile devices. For most users, the first step is setting a password to lock their smartphone or tablet. PINs and thumbprints are options available on devices from various manufacturers, while pattern lock is widely used as a mechanism for authentication and authorization on Android devices. Unfortunately for pattern lock users, this security method may be anything but secure.

Researchers from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom presented findings at The Network and Distributed System Security Symposium 2017 of a study indicating that video and computer vision algorithm software can typically crack a pattern lock in fewer than five attempts. What’s worse, it can do so without even seeing the screen itself. Tests of video-based attacks were successful in reconstructing Android lock patterns from video footage filmed using a mobile phone camera 95% of the time, and 97.5% of the time when more complex patterns were used.

Using footage of a user inputting his or her Android pattern lock, computer vision algorithm then analyzed the fingertip movements to infer a pattern. Researchers tested 120 patterns collected from 215 users and found that more complex patterns are even more vulnerable because they limit the number of working possibilities. A Phys.org article detailing the research indicated that mobile video can produce accurate results from up to 2.5 meters (or just over 8 feet) away, or up to 9 meters (nearly 30 feet) away using SLR footage. Though researchers only discussed these two types of video, the application for security camera footage could indicate the potential for more serious, widespread threats in the future.

The research paper suggests that users consider covering their hands when entering their pattern lock to avoid making their fingertip patterns traceable, or to set the screen brightness to change quickly to throw off any recording.

“Since our threat model is common in day-to-day life, this paper calls for the community to revisit the risks of using Android pattern lock to protect sensitive information,” researchers stated.

Ultimately, Android users may want to consider an alternative form of device lock, or implement two-factor authentication to better protect themselves from potential adversaries. Businesses leveraging enterprise mobility may want to keep these recommendations in mind when developing policies and procedures for employees who are using mobile devices as part of their jobs. If you need help identifying ways to keep your organization’s devices safe regardless of operating system or device type, contact our team for help.

Policies and governance of mobile devices

In this environment of expanding digital workspaces, mobile devices are connected to more data than at any other time in history. Study after study shows that mobile access is increasing at an exponential rate. This comes as no surprise given that each of us are finding ways to use our mobile devices for an incredible number of functions, from sending email to conducting research, from shopping to looking up driving directions, from accessing company resources to creating on-the-job efficiencies. Read More

The pros and cons of messaging apps in the enterprise

Messaging Apps in the Enterprise
Clear, consistent communication is vital for the productivity and growth of any organization. For years the primary method of communicating was via phone. Now, as technology allows us to collaborate and connect from virtually anywhere at any time, companies are forced to evaluate a number of communication tools, including many popular messaging apps available on mobile devices. From WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to iMessage and Google Hangouts, these apps bring IT teams to a crossroads between the pros of a more open approach and the potential perils of careless worker app use. Read More

Mobile Brew attendance doubles in year two

As secure enterprise mobility becomes an increasingly relevant business objective, IT executives and professionals are looking for ideas, insights and best practices on finding a better balance between employee preferences and company priorities. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we experienced such an uptick in attendance at Tech Orchard’s second annual Mobile Brew. More than 110 attendees from top Kansas City companies joined us at Boulevard Brewery for networking and a valuable panel discussion on mobility essentials.

The event kicked off as Mike McRoberts, Business Development Expert & Former Sprint Executive, shared a thought-provoking story about how IT teams can leverage the benefits of expanding their use of cloud services, especially for mobile initiatives. Then, Tech Orchard CEO Phil Poje addressed a panel of speakers about the challenges and opportunities around enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile threat prevention (MTP) in the workplace. Panelists included Keith Shaw, manager of security engineering and operations for H&R Block Inc.; Cora Belfiore, director of IT operations at Winston & Strawn LLP; James Robertson, owner of Core BT Solutions; and Randy Crenshaw, vice president of mobile technology at Tech Orchard.

KC Business Journal’s tech beat writer Leslie Collins captured some of the most valuable panel commentary in her article “Tech Orchard panel: How employers can address mobile security issues.” Attendees in the audience were able to ask questions and generate additional conversation about how they can better incorporate a comprehensive mobile strategy moving forward. Immediately following the conclusion of the panel, employees from our sponsor companies took the stage to share a little about their businesses. Sponsors included VMware, Check Point, Trabon, UPS, BalancePoint, Centriq Training, Netrality Properties, Network Technology Partners (NTP), Quark Studios and Source Inc. Wireless Solutions. Door prizes were given away to six lucky winners while everyone in attendance enjoyed tasty appetizers and local craft brews while networking with colleagues and peers.

With no sign of mobility adoption slowing across the enterprise, we’re already looking ahead to expanding our panel and attendance at our third annual Mobile Brew in the fall of 2017. If you had the opportunity to attend and have any outstanding questions that weren’t answered either by our panel or during your networking, please don’t hesitate to call or email Phil, Randy or Mila. If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to read our KC Business Journal coverage and reach out for assistance with any enterprise mobility needs you may have or expect to arise within your organization in the days ahead.

Mobile Brew 2016 Recap

For complete photo coverage, check out our Facebook album with pictures of the event, attendees, prize winners, panelists and more!

An inside look at the mobile app r•evolution

If you’ve used your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device today, think about what you’ve used it for. Did it include emailing, surfing the web, accessing work documents or communicating to others? More than likely, you’ve used an app or two in the process. Why? Because apps are where it’s at when it comes to mobile usage today. Read More

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