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mobile devices

Tech Orchard Tips Follow-Up: Device location reporting in AirWatch

Back in February of last year, we issued a blog post on device location reporting, a topic that often comes up among our AirWatch users. Last week, we received the following email from a client working to troubleshoot an issue that arose when trying to configure this popular functionality.

Hi Randy,

As per your article, I have set up for automatic request to check in for devices. I can see devices last seen but when I got to the location tab it says the device has not reported any location to AirWatch.


In case you run into a similar issue, we wanted to share some additional tips for ensuring that you can track your devices via GPS Location Services as noted in our response to the client:

Hello M.P.,

I am glad to hear that you read the article and applied it to your environment. There are a couple of things that could be causing the disconnect:

  • The Privacy settings in All Settings/Devices and Users/General/Privacy must be set properly for your use types (either BYOD or Company Owned).
  • The Agent settings for the device OS (Apple or Android) should be set to have the Background Refresh checkbox checked (for example, All Settings/Devices and Users/Apple/Apple iOS/Agent).
  • Location Services must be turned on for the device. For Apple devices, tap Settings on the home screen and then Privacy/Location Services, making sure that the AirWatch Agent is listed under the “Share My Location” section. Unless you have your devices managed under a DEP profile, you won’t be able to mandate that the user doesn’t turn that off on his/her own.

I hope the above helps. If you have any further issues or any questions regarding details, you may consider creating a support ticket with AirWatch.


Randy Crenshaw, VP – Mobile Technology
Tech Orchard, LLC

Do you have a question about your AirWatch console we can answer? Or, are you interested in learning tips about a specific mobility issue? Email Randy at randy@techorchard.com for assistance and you could be featured in an upcoming blog post.

Android ransomware up 50%, holding your phone hostage

As smartphones increasingly become the primary computing device for many users, they also present a greater risk for certain cyber attacks. According to a recent report from ESET, ransomware attacks on Android devices rose more than 50% in the past year.

For those unfamiliar, ransomware is a form of malware wherein an attacker encrypts a user’s data and holds it hostage until they pay a monetary ransom. Ransomware has been an actively growing threat for quite some time, with many new tools emerging to counteract it.

The reason behind the growth in Android ransomware is actually quite simple. As more users rely on their phone as a daily computing device, they are storing more sensitive data there, which can be more easily exploited for ransom, the report stated.

According to the report, techniques such as lockscreen ransomware and crypto-ransomware, typically used in desktop attacks, are being adapted specifically for Android users. “ESET researchers have also seen cybercriminals put increased effort into keeping a low profile by encrypting and burying the malicious payload deeper into the infected apps,” the report also noted.

Android ransomware, and other forms of malware affecting the mobile OS, usually spreads by pretending to be another application—such as a trending game—to get the user to download it, an ESET white paper said. However, researchers also noticed a growing trend of attacks coming through email, using social engineering to try and get users to click a link and download an infected app.

Once a device is infected, the white paper said, the attacker can wipe the user’s device, send a message on their behalf, or perform a host of other malicious actions. Some versions of the ransomware even attempt to convince the user that their device was locked by law enforcement for illegal activity.

Geographically speaking, these attacks are growing among users in the U.S. and Asia, the report said.

Being that ransomware is a form of malware, there are a few ways to deal with it. First off, it’s important to make sure that the device’s settings are properly configured, especially those that manage app store downloads. There are also some other steps one can take if the device is infected, including booting in safe mode to remove the malware.

This latest report follows a host of other bad news for malware in Android devices. In mid-2016, a Kaspersky Lab report claimed that Android ransomware had quadrupled over the previous year. Additionally, a malware version called HummingBad was reported to have affected millions of devices.

This article originally appeared on TechRepublic.

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.

Top 5 mobility predictions for 2017

Mobility Predictions for 2017

Each year, we take a moment to reflect on recent experiences helping companies discover meaningful mobility and detail our expectations in this space for the coming year. Below are not only our top five mobility predictions for 2017, but quick tips on how you can address them in your organization. Read More

How a Florida court ruling impacts digital privacy

Early this year, we all watched the legal battle between Apple and the FBI unfold about access to the iPhone 5C used in the 2015 San Bernardino massacre. The feud ended, at least temporarily, on March 28 when the FBI withdrew its case from the courts after a third-party managed to unlock the device. With no real resolution provided, additional court cases have popped up surrounding the critical issue of digital privacy, and this month, the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that the government can force an iPhone user to release the passcode to unlock his/her phone. Read More

Check Point identifies Gooligan, new Android malware campaign

After thorough research performed by our mobile threat prevention (MTP) partner, Check Point, a new and alarming type of malware campaign has been identified. Known as Gooligan, this malware is used to generate ad revenue on the Android platform. Check Point noted that as of the end of November, Gooligan had breached the security of more than one million Google accounts, with an additional 13,000 devices being impacted each day. Read More

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