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Ethical hacking: BYOD vulnerabilities by Blackhat Pakistan 2023

In this article we will learn about Ethical hacking: BYOD vulnerabilities.

Introduction[Ethical hacking: BYOD vulnerabilities]

With the influx of millennials and the growing demand for flexible working, the shift from using company devices to having staff bring their own devices is having a significant impact on how IT handles data security. Companies that use BYOD or bring their own devices in the workplace must implement certain security measures to ensure the protection of valuable and sensitive corporate data.

However, there may be security holes in a company’s system that companies are not even aware of. Ethical hacking can help identify BYOD vulnerabilities and provide insight into countermeasures to take. But before we discuss how, let’s take a closer look at BYOD vulnerabilities.

The most common BYOD vulnerabilities:

Third-party network errors

Employees typically connect their personal devices to a number of networks outside of the organization’s control. However, third-party networks lack many of the security features that are increasingly being incorporated into corporate networks.

For example, Cylance discovered vulnerabilities in network routers used by hotels in 29 countries. The flaw allowed hackers to monitor and manipulate traffic from Wi-Fi networks and even access management systems. As a result, employees storing corporate data on BYOD-approved devices expose their employers to the risk of compromise when they connect to third-party wireless networks.

Rooted and jailbroken devices

Most BYOD security kits consider rooted and jailbroken devices to be the main cause of compromise. Because these devices bypass vendor and enterprise security, their backends are even more vulnerable to viruses, malware, and other hacks than standard devices.

When these devices connect to the corporate network, malware or viruses on their back end can easily be injected into the network. This allows adversaries to make unauthorized uploads, create fake redirects, and cause other types of damage.

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Damaged content

Employees may not realize that adversaries can exploit vulnerabilities in malformed content (such as videos, GIFs, and landing pages) to infiltrate a targeted operating system or application.

Employees using Android devices are at greater risk due to the presence of software vulnerabilities in the media processing component of Android. Hackers could use malicious media files such as MP4 to attack the media processor component on unpatched Android phones and gain deeper access to data such as corporate messages and document downloads.

Lost or stolen gadgets

According to a study by Trend Micro, 45.6 percent of organizations that have allowed employees to access their corporate network via BYOD devices have experienced some type of data breach, with device loss and theft as the main reason for data breaches. While many devices are stolen for their value, there is also a growing number of stolen or lost devices whose information is exposed through hardware and software vulnerabilities. And since employees keep both personal company information and private data on the same device, the risk of corporate data leakage if the device is stolen is now a terrifying possibility.

Traditionally, most organizations have relied on a single software ecosystem to run their operations (usually the Windows/Microsoft framework). With the adoption of BYOD, it’s not uncommon to see a mix of Android, iOS, and Windows in the workplace. Each operating system – and the framework it runs on – has its own unique set of vulnerabilities, meaning that allowing staff to use any device increases the potential for hacking and data breaches.

Malicious applications

Not all apps installed on an employee’s device are as secure as they appear. Even apps from official app stores can contain malicious code. In most cases, malicious apps have the potential to take control of a user’s device, which can lead to loss of work information, call charges, and theft of corporate data.

What can ethical hackers do?

Ethical hackers have a wide range of tools at their disposal to help organizations identify BYOD vulnerabilities. Through ethical hacking, organizations can be alerted to serious flaws in their security systems with respect to implementing BYOD in the workplace.

For example, an ethical hacker can use a dynamic analysis tool like Cycript to analyze applications running on iOS-based BYOD devices. Basically, Cycript allows pentesters to see the inner workings of active iOS apps. This in turn allows them to perform a SQL injection attack that can be used to probe for malicious code and potential vulnerabilities.

Final verdict

By installing third-party applications without IT approval or by visiting malicious websites on the company network, employees can unknowingly put the reputation of the entire company at risk.

As with many other parties to the BYOD threat, pentesters must be comfortable using a wide variety of tools and techniques against their targets’ vulnerabilities. However, because the flexibility of BYOD causes users to bring different types of devices, ethical hackers will need to evaluate whether the cost of exploiting an application or operating system is really worth it – especially where other computer programs or networks could be exploited. more beneficial.


  1. Implementing BYOD Plans, Trend Micro
  2. Superion’s Click2Gov breaches affects thousands of municipal customers across several states, SC Magazine
  3. BYOD vs. enterprise security: Is it possible to have both?, CIO Dive
  4. What are the Risks to Your Corporate Data?, Trend Micro

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