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Author's profile photo Bob Caswell

Managing Mobile Devices in a World of Jailbreaking

JailbreakDetection.pngSo what happens in a world where mobile devices are outselling PCs nearly 3 to 1 and employees are already eager to go mobile at work? By now we all know the answer and have come to expect a healthy percentage of employees wanting to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. But as a result there’s another, less obvious trend on the rise: “jailbreaking.”

For those unfamiliar, jailbreaking (or “rooting”) is a term used for the process of circumventing security protocols enabled on mobile devices. This can include booting to a new operating system, “sideloading” unsigned applications, and enabling apps to have “root” access to the device. This can make devices susceptible to certain types of malicious worms as well as more prone to data leaks in some cases.

That said, even mainstream publications like Forbes are promoting and encouraging jailbreaking. It can enable a higher degree of customization, that is, if you’re willing to put up with the risks associated (and risk tolerance when it comes to data security, as we know, can be quite a different threshold for individuals vs. enterprises). While the majority of iOS users are happy to use their mobile devices as designed, it’s telling that in just six weeks, one Jailbreak tool was downloaded by more than 18 million devices!

The good news is that SAP is well aware of this trend and has decided to include preconfigured reporting as part of the SAP Mobile Secure rapid-deployment solution (RDS), which just released a few days ago and is designed to help customers go live quickly with SAP’s market-leading Enterprise Mobility Management solution. See the below screenshot for an example of, among other capabilities, how easy it is to identify jailbroken devices and quickly disable them from accessing corporate networks.


The SAP Mobile Secure RDS includes Afaria, SAP’s award-winning mobile device management solution (MDM) and also includes a solution for secure mobile sharing of enterprise content (MCM), and a solution for app encryption, a discipline of mobile app management (MAM). The entire package can be deployed, implemented, and configured in a matter of weeks. For more details on the Mobile Secure RDS, check out its landing page on the SAP Service Marketplace. Or feel free to leave a question or comment below.

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      Author's profile photo Nir Rostoker
      Nir Rostoker

      Jailbreaking is indeed one out of many threats to managing mobile devices in the enterprise world. last night on Google Play I found an interesting app that overcomes the normal IT security configurations around locking one's phone after X seconds. The app  wakes up every few seconds and is running various backgrounds tasks so the mobile device won't lock it self while the device owner is far away from it - so it stay unlocked for hours or days regardless of any proximity to it owner.

      People will always be creative and in this cat and mouse race - having great reports on top of your MDM solution will help you stay one step ahead !

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Most companies can really benefit from getting reports like this. Imagine how much security costs are reduced!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      One would want to limit access to users who have tampered with the security and / or functionality of their mobile device while not preventing legitimate users who have installed third party apps which may trigger false positives.

      The chance of a programmer writing an application which could bypass security measures is very high, especially where the company involved is not actively monitoring each device in real time.

      In the future I can foresee that not only will security on mobile devices be controlled by trust certificates, software versions and bit comparisons of applications but will also require antiviral-like security with heuristics to ensure exploits don't get out of hand. (compare this with the way the internet and earlier OS's like WinXP where bombarded with exploits).