Being aware of the potential dangers of endpoint device communication is necessary to ensure comprehensive risk management has been put in place. What is classified as an endpoint device has grown at a rate in line with the rapid technological market growth, which means that no matter the industry, every modern business relies on these types of devices.
To ensure sensitive data is being given the proper protection it requires, having an awareness of the risks and solutions is necessary.
What is an Endpoint Device?
Fundamentally, an endpoint device is any system or application at the user end of communication. Traditionally this would refer to personal computers, laptops and desktops; however, the evolution of technology means the term applies to almost any device, from mobiles to laptops, e-readers and even X-ray machines. Anything that is data-enabled can join a public or private network and is classified as an endpoint device.
What Are They Vulnerable To?
The list of potential vulnerabilities can be very long, but below are some of the most common and comprehensible examples.
The proliferation of mobile devices has transformed work culture. Businesses have established continuity plans that rely on employee access to corporate emails anytime, anywhere. Email on mobile endpoints can be vulnerable to theft and, since passwords are often stored on the device, stealing it is likely to give the criminal access to sensitive information. Unsolicited emails with attachments are another potential danger, and both may lead to virus and malware infections.
SMS and MMS Messaging
Both of these point-to-point short messaging forms are vulnerable simply because they share plaintext data. Using these communication forms on public networks leaves data vulnerable to interception.
Unintended Data Leakage
This happens when sensitive data, stored on a device, is accessed by a malicious user. Although many try to protect their sensitive data, it is not uncommon to overlook potential leakage sources. Some examples include URL caches, copy and paste caches, application logs and cookies.
The Best Ways of Securing Endpoint Devices
Ways of securing devices include both technological and physical methods.
Whole-device and data encryption is the most effective way of securing sensitive information. Device encryption works by encrypting the whole device so that it is inaccessible to anyone who is not the owner. Data encryption works to protect data while a device is in use. In general, encryption technologies are able to afford the user peace of mind that if a device gets in the hands of an unauthorised party, they won’t be able to access sensitive information. There are many different encryption methods, with some security institutions like Proofpoint offering encryption technologies that they design themselves.
Although encryption is the best method of securing a device, the ability for a remote erase and reset is the best way of making sure that nobody will ever be able to access data on a stolen device.
Disabling the Integrated Cameras
Many corporations chose to disable the integrated cameras on all devices to protect against the risk they will be used to transmit sensitive information. Since webcam hacking is relatively simple, disabling a device’s camera is a quick and effective form of protection.