Lunchtime Hackers

Lunchtime Hackers, Wikimedia Commons

Israelis Yair Amit and Adi Sharabani of Skycure made international headlines earlier this year when they discovered that the personal information of users of LinkedIn was at risk. LinkedIn was using data from its member’s calendars without their permission. After uncovering this flaw, Amit and Sharabani worked with LinkedIn to improve its mobile app and return control of personal information to its users. With that security hole closed, they have now uncovered another security risk, but this time for corporations.

Personal Mobile Devices in the Workplace

In days past, and not so long ago, employees were not allowed to take their personal mobile devices to the workplace, and for good reason. But times have changed, and most employees today would rather call in sick than leave their iPhones or other mobile devices at home. Companies, on the other hand, are at increased risk. No matter how much time and money they spend on building firewalls to keep sensitive data secure, employees logging onto the company’s network with their own personal mobile devices can be a major source of security breaches.

Yikes! Lunchtime Hackers

This is what happens. A company employee goes out to lunch at a nearby sushi bar. When checking mail or messaging with friends, the guy sitting at the next table can hack into that mobile device and take control of the device, including sending emails, changing data and swiping the screen clean. Without realizing it, the employee returns to work and logs back onto the company network using the same mobile device, giving the lunchtime hacker free access to the corporation’s network. There went all of the security walls that were in place! So more than just altering data or stealing personalities, hackers can penetrate the security walls of corporate networks through employee’s mobile devices.

Mobile App to the Rescue

In 2007, Amit and Sharabani’s security company, Watchfire, was bought by IBM. That exit provided them with the funds to finance the creation of Skycure in 2012. They recently raised $3 million in venture capital to hire the best people to continue development of their product. Through Skycure, they will build a mobile firewall specifically for mobile devices that will keep them fully functional while successfully addressing any security threats. The solution, which will be available to corporations, will consist of a mobile app and a management console giving organizations the ability to protect and deal with security related incidents.