Mobile security continues to be a growing concern as attacks targeting mobile platforms and users increase. A 2018 research on mobile threats showed that one in every thirty-six mobile device had a high-risk app installed. This as more and more users turn to non-official app repositories to download applications unavailable or too expensive on official app stores.
At the same time, there has been an upsurge in cyber-attacks in the last few months as the world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic. Phishing attacks have particularly caught the attention of security insiders and enforcers as they seem to get better and better each day.
What kind of mobile threats might you be dealing with in the near future and how do you protect yourself as an individual beyond basic antiviruses?
3 common mobile security threats you might face
Sim-swap frauds and account hijacking
SIM swap scams and frauds have been on the rise in the past few years. For example, there are reported cases of scams where victims are duped into disclosing personal information to receive Covid-19 test kits. Such scams end up with a victim losing control of their mobile accounts to criminals who now have sufficient information to swap their SIM cards and hijack their device accounts.
Public Wi-Fi hacks and interference
It’s no secret, accessing the internet using a public network such as a free hotel hotspot is not the safest way to use your mobile device. It makes it easy for cybercriminals sitting on the hotspots to sniff your data and probably also gain access to your mobile devices. However, research shows that a majority of people still use public WIFI at least once or twice a week on mobile devices. This despite all the risks attributed to using these unsecured hotspots.
Cryptojacking refers to where a hacker, through browser extensions and other means, uses your mobile device to mine cryptocurrencies. This might affect the performance of your device and probably drain your batteries too. There is evidence of such threats becoming more popular on illegal streaming websites and other unsecured platforms across the web.
How do you protect your mobile devices from these threats?
Use a VPN to protect your data and privacy
A VPN will protect from a majority of attacks that may emanate from the internet or communication apps. Downloading a VPN on your mobile ensures that any data coming to or leaving your device is encrypted and secured from criminals on your network.
Watch your applications
Ensure that you download apps from official app stores to be on the safe side. At the same time, only give permissions to apps you trust. The permissions you give to an app should also make sense in that they will be essential for the functionality included in the app.
Update your mobile devices
Keeping your devices updated will protect you from threats that come as a result of vulnerabilities within an app or mobile platform.
All in all, taking a proactive approach to your security on mobile is crucial especially with the growing threats targeting mobile devices. This means protecting yourself while you are connected to the internet and keeping a close eye on the apps you use on your devices.