Mobility StrategyWell there is it again.  Yet another headline detailing a data breach and the exposure of millions of user records. This time the cybersecurity victim happens to be Snapchat – a popular photo sharing social media app.  Usernames and phone numbers for almost 4.6M users were taken and provided on another website ( with the last two phone digits redacted.  So what are we to learn from this and how can having a mobility strategy and program provide any level of help?

Let’s start off by thinking about the human aspect of the problem.  One of the biggest issues with data compromises is understanding if the situation actually effects you personally or if this bit of news is just more noise to be filtered out.  Second, users tend to use exactly the same user IDs to identify themselves to various Internet sites making the gathering of relevant user information easier. Third, phone numbers can be used to great effect in combination with phishing attacks or sophisticated SMS scams.  So how exactly would having a mobility program and powerful Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system help?

 Information about your mobile population is power.

One of the biggest jobs that a security officer can do for their constituents is to provide timely, relevant information on clear and present threats to their data or computer resources. Now imagine that in this case with Snapchat, an organization can take a quick look at all onboarded equipment (BYOD and corporate owned) and do a quick search using your EMM for those with installed Snapchat apps. Given the large popularity of the app, I’m sure you’ll find some out there.  Once you have the device list and perhaps some statistics on how many devices have the app in your mobile pool, you need to make a decision.

What is the best use of this information?

The question of what to do next comes down more to corporate culture and how your users like to get their information rather than a clearcut right or wrong approach. Do they prefer direct communication or a more circumspect approach?  Simply put, would an email to a small group of employees with Snapchat installed freak them out (e.g. big brother) or make them feel special – like you are looking out for them?

Enhance awareness to protect employees’ personal ID’s.

Regardless of the approach or target scope, this incident provides security officers with a fantastic opportunity for enhancing awareness and pointing out some of the follow on risks to watch out for. As we mentioned above, the loss of both usernames and phone numbers provides both a solid starting point for Internet research on the target users.  Malicious individuals can use this as a springboard to gather information on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites – quickly building up a nice profile on the user.  Now add in the additional data point of having a recent mobile number and the user is ripe for a spear phishing attack. Maybe now is a good time for a brown bag lunch on social engineering and not clicking on unknown links?

A flexible EMM can protect your network, your data, and your employees.

The last point I want to make circles back to the power of a flexible EMM.  Let’s imagine for a moment that the news wasn’t about just the loss of user information, but was also hypothetically about a compromised app. Organizations could easily take the same inventory steps, alert users of the compromise and build compliance rules for denying access to corporate resources while the app remains on the monitored device. A quick, easy, and reasonably effective first step for staving off a deeper compromise. If things got really bad the organization could do an enterprise wipe of all corporate access and apps residing on the mobile device. Possibly extreme, but also a powerful option to have available when needed.

So today it’s Snapchat and tomorrow it will be something else.  Your enterprise is relying progressively more on the power of apps that sit side by side with corporate resources.  Make sure you’re taking the right steps to protect your mobile enterprise.  Not sure how to start?  Contact WaveGard – we’d love to meet you!