Though most people aren’t aware of it, mobile phones are susceptible to cyber crime. People don’t think of their mobile phones as machines that require protection like a personal computer. But the truth is, in the past few years the mobile realm has become a new breeding ground cyber criminals.
In 2012, the US Congress reported a 185% increase in malware that targets mobile phones – though other studies have estimated the increase was as much as 2000%! And that was three years ago.
It’s time to tighten up the defence on your mobile phone. Here are some of the most common mobile security threats, as well as a few ways that you can protect yourself from them.
When a phone is running an out-of-date operating system or old software, then it’s in danger of a malware attack. Security patches aren’t as readily installed, and often the software proprietor won’t even inform you that an update is available. Third party apps require regular updates as well, so check the app store for newer versions. Consider updating your mobile device every two years to maximise your security.
Lack of Security Software
While all mobile phones come with pre-installed apps and programs, rarely do they have any security software right out of the box. Mobile users tend to believe that that there isn’t much of a security threat out there, and they don’t want to affect the battery life or bog down the memory of their mobile devices. Protect yourself with the proper security software: make sure that it defends against Trojans, scam bait from spammers, and other viruses.
No Password Protection
Almost every mobile phone comes with password controls, but not everyone enables this sort of protection. Create a password for your mobile device that has a unique character – most mobile keyboards can access unique characters by holding down a key. (Example: holding down the 0 key could change it into a unique character like θ.) Also, consider using two-factor authentication when making sensitive transactions like accessing your bank account.
Public Networks and Bluetooth
When you access unsecured WiFi or public network using your mobile device, you may be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Hackers can access your communication stream, and take a look at your sensitive information. Avoid using public networks when you can. In addition, most mobile phones are Bluetooth-capable devices, and many people enable Bluetooth without knowing what it is. When Bluetooth is in “discovery mode,” it can be seen by other devices with Bluetooth. Hackers see this as an easy inroad to manipulate your device, or install some malware. Just as with public networks, disable your Bluetooth when you don’t really need to use it.
Mobile devices have become a very common technology, and that’s why hackers are creating viruses and malware designed to attack them. Be sure to protect yourself from cyber threats by following these and other simple guidelines for protection against mobile security threats.