As Smartphones Become a Hot Target, Can Mobile EDR Help?

Lookout Security debuts a mobile endpoint detection and response offering that will integrate into its mobile security platform.

Lookout Security today announced the addition of endpoint detection and response (EDR) to its mobile security platform, a move intended to help protect enterprise smartphones from a wave of malicious apps, vulnerabilities, malicious URLs, and phishing attacks targeting mobile devices. 

Most employees use a tablet or smartphone for work; however, companies often don’t monitor for mobile threats. That doesn’t mean mobile is risk-free: Malicious apps built to spy on users have appeared in Google Play; advanced versions of ransomware are infecting Android phones.

“While many organizations have comprehensive activity monitoring for servers, desktop and laptop computers, they don’t have the same telemetry for iOS, Android, and Chrome OS devices,” says Aaron Cockerill, chief strategy officer at Lookout.

Security on mobile endpoints is often overlooked because many people assume modern mobile operating are inherently secure. While they can defend against some attacks, they may still be vulnerable to malicious code, phishing, and social engineering, Cockerill continues. Lookout saw a 37% increase in mobile phishing attacks among customers as they switched to remote work. 

“For every threat on desktops or laptops, there are similar threats on mobile OSes and apps,” he adds. And mobile is a hot target: Attackers are increasingly targeting mobile because tablets and smartphones are at the intersection of our personal life and professional life, he notes. “These devices have a treasure trove of data and attackers use them to attack organizations.”

Lookout’s new EDR research and threat hunting console, which will be available in 90 days, uses the console its researchers use to analyze and track mobile threats. The system relies on a mobile security graph that admins can access to search the telemetry of their organization’s devices, as well as the corpus of some 200 million devices running the Lookout app, Cockerill explains. They can search the results of Lookout analysis of mobile apps and phishing websites. 

“Searching within this security graph enables customers to understand if an active attack involves mobile devices, where the attacker is, and what they’re doing,” he continues. Users can identify targeted attacks, conduct forensic analysis if a breach occurs, and model changes needed to prevent future attacks from taking place.

The EDR capability uses the current Lookout app, which already exists on customer devices, to detect security incidents, contain them on the endpoint, and provide guidance for remediation.

Other security firms have also begun to offer mobile-specific EDR offerings. In March 2019, CrowdStrike launched its Falcon for Mobile product, bringing threat response and incident investigation to Android and iOS devices.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial … View Full Bio

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