Posted: 3 Min ReadProduct Insights

Beware the Fake Apps: They’re Out to Steal Your Data

New threat aware data protection technology protects users from stealth data theft by compromised apps

Every day the cyber world becomes a more dangerous place, as cyber criminals and hackers devise new ways to steal corporate secrets and threaten business operations. Consider this:

The upshot: It’s harder than ever for companies to stay safe from cyber breaches. It needn’t be that way, though. Symantec’s Threat Aware Data Protection can guard data against all those threats and more. In this blog, I’ll detail the latest dangers and describe how Threat Aware Data Protection can keep your company’s data safe and secure.

The Dangers of Fake Apps and Beyond

Organized cyber criminals, state-sponsored hackers and other bad actors intent on industrial espionage use executable apps and highly sophisticated malware that can bypass normal types of cyber-protection.

They’ve devised a dizzying array of fake apps disguised as legitimate apps to sneak into corporate networks and exfiltrate data. Users download these unauthorized apps to their devices when they don’t have the right software to do their jobs, often productivity tools such as PDF mergers and splitters, calculators, video capture and editing tools, and others. Not to mention all the insecure apps they download for personal use, such as video chatting, calendars, media downloading, file transfer, faxing, etc. Once the apps are launched, they can collect and steal sensitive data in the background without being noticed.

People also get infected without knowing they’re even installing malicious software. They click a link, which downloads and installs malware without their knowledge. In other cases, people click email attachments, which unleashes hidden malware. And in some particularly pernicious attacks, someone downloads a file such as a Word document with macros that triggers PowerShell to run malicious code.

A good multilayered endpoint security solution helps detect and block many malicious apps and advanced malware, but by itself can’t always detect and block surreptitious data theft. For example, stealthy malicious software such as Infostealer trojans, once installed, establish backdoors to gather and exfiltrate confidential information from compromised computers and send it to pre-determined locations. The malware can stay dormant on an endpoint until the attacker slowly exfiltrates data using a command-and-control connection.

How Symantec Threat Aware Data Protection Keeps You Safe and Secure

Symantec Threat Aware Data Protection uses powerful endpoint security technologies and advanced machine learning techniques to stop these kinds of attacks. First, it relies on data loss prevention technology to accurately identify sensitive data. At the same time, it monitors the data access activity of applications that appear to be suspicious or that are totally unknown, while letting the legitimate corporate applications run without interruption. If the monitored applications get near sensitive data, the solution immediately protects the data by blocking access, sending notifications, encrypting it or even applying digital rights to the content.

This is particularly important in protecting against targeted attacks such as those used in industrial espionage in which malware is crafted to go after a specific organization. This kind of malware is often used to steal government secrets and attack financial services companies. There’s been a continuous increase in these kinds of attacks over the last year — and Symantec Threat Aware Data Protection stops them in their tracks by making sure no suspicious applications can be used to steal an organization’s vital information.

Using these tools, Symantec Threat Aware Data Protection combines industry-leading data loss prevention with endpoint protection to protect companies from stealth data theft. Powered by the world’s largest civilian Global Intelligence Network (GIN), it’s a first-of-its-kind endpoint security solution that delivers threat aware data protection and provides the ability to stop malicious, suspicious, and unknown apps from seizing control of endpoints and stealing sensitive information.

Click Here to Learn More About Symantec Threat Aware Data Protection

About the Author

Mario Espinoza

VP of Product Management, Symantec

Mario is responsible for all research and development for Information Protection. He holds an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.S. in engineering and computer science from Universidad de Chile.

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