The threats from mobile malware have been highly documented:
Zimperium reported late last year that 60 percent of mobile devices in enterprise BYOD environments are vulnerable to known cyberthreats. About six percent surveyed recorded a critical threat event and one percent were infected with a malicious application.
And Skycure reported that 32.5 percent of devices used by executive were exposed to network attacks in the April through June 2016 timeframe. Over that same period, 22.5 percent were infected with malware that rated at least a medium severity of risk and 6.3 percent were determined to be a high severity risk.
In fact, it was this increased threat landscape and other major events in the mobile malware world, such as the Pegasus malware that infected iOS devices and the Stagefright bug that hit Android smartphones and tablets, that prompted global mining company Kinross Gold to get more serious about protecting mobile devices.
Edward Amoroso, CEO, TAG Cyber; former SVP and CSO, AT&T
“We were using AirWatch for mobile device management, but we needed something that could detect and remediate mobile malware,” says JT Pearson, manager of IT client services at Kinross Gold Corp. “When I think back, it was really the Sony case that cemented security in the minds our corporate board, and this was after we had highlighted the need for mobile security in many previous conversations.”
Kinross employees were originally BlackBerry users, but as the Canadian-based gold mining company moved its company-owned devices to Android and iOS, it needed a way to save on phone charges. Pearson says the company has mines and projects in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, Russia and the Unites States and it was spending excessive amounts on roaming data when its executives traveled abroad. For example, simply checking email often resulted in a $200 charge in a single day, Pearson explains.
He adds that while Wandera was originally viewed as a cost-savings tool, it became even more important to the company when the vendor added new security features and was then seen as a way to more effectively respond to the emerging threat landscape.
Now, data and content travels through Wandera's cloud-based system that compresses the data and inspects it for malware, a process that significantly reduces data use. Kinross Gold also takes advantage of some of its other security features. For example, Pearson says Kinross Gold enables hard blocks on software updates as well as caps on data usage when employees are roaming.
“If you hit 200 megabytes on any given day we'll stop you,” says Pearson. “We also block optional apps, such as Instagram, Spotify and some streaming services while roaming.”
Pearson adds that by using Wandera's compression, blocking and active management capabilities, Kinross Gold saves roughly $750,000 on its annual cellular bill for the 250 employees who have company-owned devices.
“We explained to the board that we had seen an increase in both phishing emails and attacks by macro-embedded malware in mobile devices,” Pearson says. “So when we explained that we could deliver enhanced security and also save the company significant money on its annual data use charges it just became a much easier sell.”