The popularity of mobile devices has increased substantially in recent years. According to the latest numbers from eMarketer, approximately 25% of the world’s population uses smartphones. That number is expected to rise in the next few years.
Hackers have begun to notice this trend, and many are now focusing their efforts on taking advantage of mobile device users. Here are four key threats to the security of your mobile devices.
1. The Accidental Installation of Malware
As mobile devices become more popular, the app market has grown to meet the demand. However, you should be careful to only download applications listed in the official marketplace for your mobile device’s operating system. Downloading prohibited or non-approved applications can lead to the accidental installation of malware.
Most mobile devices have built-in security parameters. These parameters block many kinds of malware, including a newly prevalent worm called NotCompatible.C. Jailbreaking your device turns off these security features, and makes you more vulnerable to malware.
2. Phishing Attacks Through SMS Messages
Microsoft defines phishing as the act of using “email messages, websites, and phone calls [that] are designed to steal money.” However, cyber criminals have recently extended phishing to SMS messages as well.
Scammers will send people SMS messages under a variety of pretenses that are designed to look legitimate. These messages will often include a link or a phone number. Opening the link or calling the number will usually lead to a service that asks you for money or personal information. It can also result in your device becoming infected.
3. Infection Through a Wireless Connection
Many pieces of malware are capable of infecting devices through a wireless local network. NotCompatible.C, for example, is one of several pieces of Android malware that are able to spread themselves in this way. The risk of being attacked by this type of malware is higher when your phone is connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, like the ones found in coffee shops, libraries, and airports.
It can also happen that an employee will bring an infected device into a company facility. The malware will then use the wireless network to infect the company’s computers as well as other employees’ devices.
4. Cross-platform Banking Attacks
Cyber criminals are also running hybrid attacks as part of their efforts to break into your bank account. These attacks target your phone by going through your computer.
When you access your bank account through a web browser on an infected computer, the malware performs what is referred to as a man-in-the-middle or man-in-the-browser attack. This attack steals your banking information as it is being sent from the browser, but before it is encrypted by your bank.
The malware then poses as your bank and tells you to install an app for “increased security” on your smartphone. It will send your phone a link to an infected app, and once you download it, hackers can control both your computer and your mobile device.
People should always be careful when using either their mobile device or their computer to access personal information. Users should always confirm the validity of any app that they are downloading or SMS message that they are responding to.
While mobile devices are convenient and useful tools, people must make sure that they are using the right security parameters. These include both built-in and third-party antivirus programs. Contact us to learn about the best ways to protect your mobile devices.