5 Daily Threats to Your Mobile Security
If there is a single significant problem with mobile phones, it’s that we have all come to take them for granted. We carry them round with us every day, and as much as we rely on them, we really only see them as a convenience. But the mobile phones that we have come to rely on, can actually be ticking time bombs. As the recent report on the SS7 security flaw illustrates, our mobile phones are vulnerable to all forms of attack. Hackers, spies, and cyber criminals are quick to exploit any security flaws they can find in software and mobile networks, putting us all at a heightened risk. As cyber crimes begin to make front page news, it’s time to take a close look at mobile phone security. While some problems are beyond the user’s control, there are other security issues that demand everyone’s attention. Consider the following five daily threats to your mobile security.
Phishing is a security issue that has long been associated with PCs and laptops. But as we all become more reliant on our smartphones for day to day communications and surfing the web, we open ourselves up to malware attacks from phishing sites. Cyber criminals prey on human nature, compelling people to click on suspicious links, download questionable apps, and open suspicious messages. Once the user has clicked the link or opened the download, the device is infected with malware and the criminals can gain access to sensitive data. Security specialists advise smartphone users to be vigilant, and watch for red flags on suspicious messages or apps. Know what you’re opening or downloading, and avoid any suspicious links or emails.
Ransomware has been a threat to PC users for a while now, but it is starting to be seen on devices running Google Android. Typically, the user opens an infected attachment from a suspicious app. The phone is then locked, and held for ransom. The user is expected to send money to the criminals for the code that will unlock the handset. Again, security teams advise users to be careful of downloading suspicious apps.
3. Cross Platform Attacks
Recently there has been a rise in so called ‘Man in the Browser” attacks. These are hybrid, cross platform, attacks that begin with an infected PC and ultimately infiltrate any synced smartphones. The malware is designed to detect when someone is surfing a banking website. Criminals sift the infected browser memory to intercept personal banking information before it is encrypted. The scam typically begins with the offer of a free security app, which, when downloaded, infects the two devices and gives the criminals a shadow control. As always, the best protection from ‘Man in the Browser’ attacks is to avoid downloading suspicious apps, and to have anti-malware and anti-spyware protection on all of your devices.
4. Cryptocurrency Attacks
Cryptocurrency mining malware infects devices in search of digital currencies like Bitcoin. So far, cryptocurrency attacks have been most prevalent in Android devices, but other operating systems are by no means immune to attacks. The malware runs as a background service, waiting until the user connects to the internet. Then it launches the CPU miner to connect to a dynamic domain, where it redirects to a cloaked digital mining pool. Cryptocurrency attacks are hit and miss, but when they are successful they can be devastating. Because cryptocurrency malware runs as a background service, it typically drains smartphone batteries very quickly which can be a significant clue that your device is infected.
5. Network Infiltration
This is a growing concern for business. Especially those that have adopted a BYOD policy. Infected mobile devices can infiltrate an organization’s network, giving criminals access to every device, including laptops and handsets, that are currently logged on to the network. The cyber criminals gain access not only to the user’s personal information, but to the business’ entire data pool. In this way, cyber criminals can enter unsuspected, and it can be some time before the breach is located and closed. Network infiltration through infected devices is rare, for the moment. But it is a growing concern for security specialists who predict an uptick in this particular brand of cyber crime.
With cyber crimes so much in the news, it’s time to think about your mobile security. If you want to protect yourself, consider adding malware and spyware protection to your mobile. Install a strong anti-virus program, and a malicious software removal tool. And remember, mobile security begins with you. Be careful what you download. Be careful what links you click, and beware of suspicious emails and text messages.