Industry groups issue web, mobile messaging best practices

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Two industry groups, which support online and mobile messaging security, have released best practices for companies, government entities and consumers.

The report addressed security strategies for malware, phishing scams, internet protocol and domain name system (DNS) exploits, as well as mobile threats – where many scams have emerged due to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

The London Action Plan (LAP), an international spam enforcement network, and the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) jointly released the best practices Wednesday.

Guidelines for mobile use emphasized the need for security solutions to protect against mobile malware, fraud (through premium rate scams) and spam. The document also highlighted ways to ensure security of downloaded apps, as well as the threat of jailbreaking, or otherwise modifying devices.

Baseband threats, emerging malicious tactics in which attackers could override legitimate signals from a mobile network provider by setting up their own rogue network to gain access to users' devices, were also explored in the report.

Phishing attempts and mobile malware remain the top concerns for users, according to Alex Bobotek, a co-chairman for M3AAWG.

Bobotek shared the most common ways that users fall victim to these ruses. He is also the lead for mobile messaging architecture and strategy at AT&T Labs.

“The two biggest threats are spam and trojans, which are installed by somehow tricking the user,” Bobotek told Thursday. He later added that the most important thing users could do to avoid mobile malware was to refrain from jailbreaking their devices and downloading apps from disreputable sources.

Best practices for spam also included steps that service providers could take to help thwart phishing attempts; namely, collaboration between carriers, in which they note spam entering and exiting their network.

“Without any data sharing among operators, spammers may operate quite freely within a given country if they take care to send their spam only to subscribers [in outside networks],” the report said.

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