There are currently 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world. The number of smartphone users worldwide is forecast to grow further by several hundred million in the next few years. Most people own at least one smartphone or tablet.
Mobile devices have become a way of life. We use our smartphones and tablets for communication, online banking services, shopping, work, social media, taking pictures, et cetera.
There’s a lot of personal data stored on or accessible via mobile devices. Yet, despite the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, mobile security does not get much attention.
When it comes to cybersecurity, people aren’t as keen as they are with their laptops and desktop computers. Given inherent security vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems and the increasing sophistication of mobile security threats, we need to take the security of our mobile devices more seriously.
A Growing Trend
Mobile security — or lack thereof — is a growing trend. Cybercriminals are now targeting smartphone users looking to get their hands on sensitive data such as passwords, financial information, emails, etc. Mobile security threats such as malware, data breaches, and social engineering attacks are growing by the day and will continue to do so as mobile ownership grows hence it’s always important to keep up with cybersecurity trends.
Here are 3 common mobile security threats users face:
Unsecure Wi-Fi Connections
Free public Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere. And we get it, nobody wants to burn through their data plan when there’s an open Wi-Fi network nearby. However, connecting to a public Wi-Fi connection poses a security risk.
In most cases, internet traffic within these networks is unsecured and can be easily intercepted by hackers.
SIM-jacking exploits a carrier’s ability to port over a phone number to a new SIM card. When you lose your phone, you can get a replacement and ask your carrier to port your original phone number to the new device.
Hackers can obtain security information required to port your SIM via social engineering attacks and take control of your mobile number and along with it, your email, social media, and financial accounts.
Phishing attacks use emails claiming to be coming from trusted sources such as your bank, urging you to share confidential information. Phishing is also used to spread malware via infected email attachments. Smartphones are commonly targeted via phishing attacks because they are always powered on. Many of us use smartphones to monitor emails in real-time thereby increasing the risk of opening a phishing email.
How to Protect Your Mobile Device
Mobile malware, phishing apps, data theft tactics such as SIM-jacking, and other mobile security threats are on the rise. Now that you are familiar with the mobile security threats that lurk out there, you need to take the necessary steps to secure your device. The good news is that there’s a lot of things you can do to improve the security of your smartphone or tablet.
Here are the top 3 ways to secure mobile devices from the aforementioned threats.
As stated earlier in the article, unsecured Wi-Fi connections pose a major mobile security threat. A VPN is one of the best ways to secure your mobile devices when connected to untrustworthy networks. This tool hides your true IP and encrypts your web traffic allowing you to connect to the internet securely. Shielding your online activity from prying eyes on the World Wide Web is as simple as downloading a VPN app and using it to connect to the internet.
Smartphones, just like computers, need around-the-clock protection against malware and other mobile security threats. Antivirus programs are designed to detect and remove malicious programs. Antivirus software can scan downloads and block files that contain malware. Good antivirus software from a reputable company can protect you from viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, and other forms of malicious software.
Keep Your System Up to Date
Keeping your mobile operating system as well as apps up to date is vital. Keeping your system up to date not only makes your device more secure but also improves performance. Make sure that your antivirus, social media apps, and operating system are running on the latest software versions to ensure protection against mobile security threats by enabling automatic updates.
Our increasing reliance on mobile devices for day-to-day tasks such as shopping, completing online transactions, etc. puts our data at risk. When it comes to defending against mobile security threats, there’s no silver bullet.
However, taking simple precautionary steps such as using a VPN, installing antivirus software, keeping your system up to date, and general common sense goes a long way towards protecting yourself from rising mobile security threats.
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