In the age of digitization, almost everything that we do is dependent on technology. As mobile technologies continue to evolve and make our daily lives more convenient, so will the malware programs that can hack into our lives. The operating systems and the millions of mobile applications that power these technologies are consumed by billions of people worldwide. For that reason, the world has seen more hacks and security threats in the last few years – infact, according to phone security statistics, cybercrime now costs the world around $42 billion each year.
The evolution of these technologies has made it even easier for cyber-criminals to hack into mobile devices and steal people’s identities and other personal information. Whether these hacks come in the form of computer viruses, malware, or phishing attacks, they are all created for the same nefarious reasons – to harm and threaten other people.
Before you can implement the necessary measures to protect yourself or your business from possible hacks, identify the security threats that you need to be concerned about.
Malware refers to software programs that perform malicious activities once installed in a device. They can infect smartphones and other handheld devices with viruses, worms, spyware, and adware. They may be transmitted through games, apps, and all sorts of mobile marketing materials. These programs were once primarily associated with computers, but with the proliferation of mobile applications coupled with consumers’ increasing interest in handheld gadgets, more and more hackers are now using malware to target mobile devices.
According to mobile experts at IT support in Ottawa, you need to install security solutions that can prevent or eliminate the threats on your device. When left unattended, malware can send malicious messages to your contacts. Hackers can even control your smartphone, and you wouldn’t be aware of it.
Mobile apps are often responsible for unintentional data leaks. Riskware apps are some of the threats that you need to look out for. They are typically listed as free on app stores, and they perform what they advertise. On the other hand, they aren’t the most secure as they can send personal and even corporate data to remote servers, which can then be mined by advertisers and cyber-criminals.
Take the Burger King app, for example – the one that promises to deliver free burgers and promo codes. The app records information from your screen, such as when you’re typing your credit card number when placing an order. After that, it sends the information to the server.
One way to avoid this problem is to give apps permission that they insist on and skip the ones that demand more than what is necessary.
Phishing scams are some of the most common security threats these days. A lot of mobile users fall victim to these types of scams as they mostly come in the form of legitimate-looking emails. Hackers usually pose as trustworthy websites or authoritative figures within your company. For example, once they’ve hacked into an email account, they can send a message to the accountant, posing as the CEO, and ask that person to pay an invoice. Unsuspecting recipients would take the bait and wire money to the cyber-criminals. It’s as easy as that.
The best thing one can do to prevent phishing scams is awareness. Knowing how these scams operate will help you a great deal. As for companies, employees can always double check information with their colleagues before actually carrying out certain tasks. It also doesn’t hurt to implement new security measures such as two-factor authentication.
Free WiFi is arguably the most sought-after service today. Consumers tend to flock to coffee shops, libraries or hotels that offer them. That makes it easier for hackers to target mobile users through network spoofing. They set up fake access points that look like any free WiFi network. They give it common names to entice people to connect. Sometimes, hackers will ask mobile users to create an account. Since users mostly use the same email and password for multiple platforms, these cyber-criminals can hijack a lot of their online accounts.
Thus, be cautious about free WiFi networks. Don’t connect if possible, and never provide personal information.
Jailbreaking or Rooting
Rooting your android device or jailbreaking your iOS gadgets can lead to serious security risks. Mobile users often do it to take control of their smartphones. They do it to modify their operating systems. Unfortunately, the lack of security is an inevitable consequence of rooting or jailbreaking. That means your devices are left vulnerable to these attacks.
As we continue to generate more data online, it’s imperative that we adopt good mobile security practice to protect ourselves from breaches and other malicious attacks. But our best defense against these security threats is awareness. By knowing what these scams are, we can be on our guard and prevent them before they can strike.
Agnieszka Podemska is an SEO specialist and content strategist at MiroMind SEO & Digital Agency. Avid blog reader and tech enthusiast, she likes to share her insights with others.