Usage of mobile devices is taking over. At the moment, there are over 3.5 billion smartphone owners worldwide. We are increasingly using mobile devices to attend to a wide range of day-to-day tasks including shopping, online banking, and work. Smartphones account for more than half of all internet traffic. While they make our lives easier, mobile devices also exacerbate online security threats. Here are common mobile security threats users face.
Phishing attacks use fake digital messages to trick people into sharing confidential information. The most common type of phishing uses emails claiming to be coming from trusted sources such as your bank, urging the recipient to provide sensitive information or change your password. Since smartphones are always powered on, they are commonly targeted via phishing attacks. People use smartphones to monitor their emails in real-time. You probably open and read emails on your mobile devices as soon as you receive them. SMiShing attacks are executed through text messages rather than email.
SIM-jacking, also known as SIM swap scam is one of the most recent types of mobile security threats. Mobile phone carriers allow their subscribers to port their old phone number to a new device in the event of theft or damage. Typically, the company will need you to provide some security information to port your SIM. These fraudsters can obtain this information through social engineering attacks and use it to port your SIM. Last year, cybercriminals used this method to take control of Twitter CEO’s (Jack Dorsey) Twitter account.
So, what can you do to protect yourself against these mobile security threats?
Use a VPN
Public Wi-Fi networks help you stay connected on the go. You can easily connect to an open Wi-Fi network at the airport, restaurant, etc. to check work email or login into your social media account. The problem with public Wi-Fi networks is that they are unsecured. Hackers can easily eavesdrop and steal your information on these networks.
Some people would consider a VPN download as the app turns a public network into a private one through encryption, ensuring that hackers and prying eyes can’t see what you are up to. It is among the best ways to secure your mobile devices when connected to untrustworthy networks.
Just like computers, smartphones need around-the-clock protection against malware and other mobile security threats. Antivirus is any program designed to protect your device from any malicious software. Antivirus software can detect and neutralize threats such as viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, etc. Choose an antivirus solution that offers firewall protection to defend yourself against online threats and improve privacy. Some of these programs also feature an email security tool that can detect and block phishing emails.
Cybercriminals victimize millions of people across the world. From phishing to SIM-jacking to malware, there’s a wide range of mobile security threats that can be used to target users. The good news is that there’s a variety of mobile security tools you can use to mitigate these risks and keep using your device safely. Install a VPN, use antivirus software, and always exercise caution to stay safe from these and other mobile security threats.
As our second lead editor, Suzanne Fisher provides guidance on the stories Tech Life reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Suzanne. Suzanne received a BA and MA from Fordham University.