At the consumer-level, jailbreaking— the process of gaining root access to a mobile device’s core operating system—offers some unique benefits. For example, users can strip their device of its original manufacturer restrictions in order to install third-party applications that may be unavailable in the app store.
At the enterprise-level, however, jailbreaking opens the door to a plethora of mobile security risks. It may be technically legal—the Library of Congress ruled it so in 2010 under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—but only in the case of an original carrier jailbreaking a device. In other words, going through a third-party vendor to jailbreak a device is still very much illegal. As such, it is considered one of today’s greatest cyber security threats.
Jailbreaking and BYOD: The Big Problem
With more business leaders adopting a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, in which employees use their personally-owned mobile devices for work purposes, jailbreaking can pose a significant security threat. Specifically, if an employee tampers with his or her personally-owned device and then brings it into the workplace, attackers may be able to gain unauthorized access to the organization’s underlying network and, subsequently, sensitive information.
The true danger of a jailbreak is that when you jailbreak a device, you are no longer truly in control of that device; in other words, you’re not entirely sure what is happening to it. While many people jailbreak their devices with no problems, the fact of the matter is that anytime someone—potentially your employee—alters a device, data can become exploited.
Furthermore, while many people break into their device in order to better customize its features and functionalities, they forget that rooting their phone strips it of any customized settings that previously existed. Most commonly, an iPhone’s password is reset to the universal password “alpine,” set by the manufacturer. If this isn’t changed immediately, it becomes an open invitation for attackers to pass on through.
For business leaders, BYOD offers clear competitive advantages; however, it’s also clear that employees’ personally-owned devices should be thoroughly inspected in an effort to prevent security risks associated with this act.
Top Five Cyber Security Threats Every Organization Must Consider
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