When we generally think of hacking, viruses, or malware, the first thing that comes to mind is computers or laptops; what many people are less aware of is that mobile phones are just as susceptible to such risks and are not immune to them at all. To date, there have been over 16 million recorded mobile security incidents. There are many ways in which your mobile device can be compromised, some of which include:
- Fake, malicious, or insecure apps – Many apps ask for permissions before or after installation, and as regular mobile users our first instinct is to agree to terms and conditions in order to gain access to the app’s functionality, without fully scrutinizing all the permissions. When these apps have access to so much, it is quite probable that at least one of them may be malicious or compromised, resulting in that access falling into the wrong hands. Mobile malware can steal your data such as credit card details and credentials, track your location, monitor your calls and emails, make absurd charges, send messages on your behalf, steal contacts, and even download additional fake apps. Some apps may turn out to be ransomware, holding your data hostage unless you pay a hefty amount of money to get it back. It is highly recommended to install apps only from trusted sources, read through the permissions requested and only give access when necessary, especially when it comes to free or advertising-supported apps.
- People can sniff out your passwords, credit card information and more, no joke. Sniffing refers to capturing data that has been transmitted over a network from one device to another. This is carried out by using specific software or hardware tools that are able to “sniff” out the data that flows through a network. Depending on the apps that you use, the messages you send may be revealed by any sniffer close to you, especially if you are on the same network. In order to keep data confidential over the internet, the app must encrypt all sensitive data before sending it over a network. You can make sure that you are on a private network to reduce this risk. Public WiFi maybe a simple solution to reduce data usage, but it puts you at more risk as you are sharing the same network with a large number of strangers.
- Free public wifi is AWESOME! But there’s a price to it. There is an additional danger when it comes to the use of public WiFi networks: Fake networks. While most public networks are legitimate but not secure, there can be many fake networks as well. Hackers may set up fake networks in public places such as coffee shops and malls in order to give people access to “Free WiFi”, which may require making an account by filling out an online form. This allows the attacker to gain email addresses and passwords, as well as monitor your internet usage. Since most users use the same password and email ID for most of their online account registrations, the hacker can gain access to other platforms. Users should always create unique passwords on different platforms to reduce the risk of their accounts being hacked.
- Click here to win one million dollars! We know, you find those absolutely annoying, we do too. But click baits & gift scams can be quite dangerous when one is not careful enough. Quick circulation and free spread is what makes ad/click bait and gift scams so common on social networking platforms and apps. These types of scams will send you to fake websites that may offer you fake promotions, download malicious apps onto your mobile device, and take complete control over it. It is very important for individuals to carefully analyze what may be fake and what may be legitimate in terms of ads, promotions and even headlines in order to avoid any harm. Users should be aware of such scams/ads and make sure to never visit suspicious links.
- Android or iOS? It doesn’t matter, you’re still vulnerable. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to compromise mobile devices, and one of the ways involves finding security weaknesses within operating systems such as Android and iOS, which can then be used to gain control of these devices. Companies that develop these operating systems are always on the lookout for these weaknesses so that they can be fixed. Updates to your phone’s OS are continuously released in order to prevent attackers from abusing these weaknesses. In order to keep your phone secure, make sure your phone’s software is up to date.
- Constant Vigilance. Loss or misuse of user data is an important issue when it comes to mobile security threats. Once a hacker gets in control, the situation can easily escalate from there and end up in identity theft or exposure of confidential data. As our reliance on our mobile devices increases, users are advised to stay cautious and alert in cases of mobile security.
So now that you’re aware of those threats, do you think your smartphone is still secure? Even if developers create the safest device for you, hackers and cybercriminals will still find a way through, so it’s always important to take caution and be aware of what you install on your devices.