Leaving your phone at home is no more an option now and if somehow you forget it at home while leaving for work, you would drive all the way back and get it. Evidently, mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives now. A few years back, it was fine to forget/leave your phone at home but now it is simply impossible to go by your day without it.
From simple Nokia phones to sophisticated smart phones that have a world of their own – our dependencies on phones have changed tremendously.
Mobile phones actively participate in all aspects of life now, making a hotel reservation, checking up on an old friend, shopping online, conversing with people, booking a ride etc.
Because they have become an integral part of our lives, it is important that phone security is taken seriously. Having an insecure phone that is vulnerable to threats and hacks means all your personal information is at stake. Let us take a look at some of the most common security threats that comes with mobile phones and how you can fight with them.
“ 73% of black hat hackers said traditional firewall and antivirus security is irrelevant or obsolete.”
Every time you download an application on your smartphone, the app asks for a number of permissions from you. While most applications only ask for the necessary/related permissions, some applications might ask for permissions that will enable them to get your information. As most people tend to simply accept the permission requests by apps without reading them thoroughly, it gives malicious applications the ability to get your data and use it for other purposes. Such applications can also sell your data to a third-party without you knowing or exposing your personal information to others.
How to fight: Every time you download a new application on your phone, ensure to check its permissions. Do not simply ‘accept’ before actually reading the type of permissions the app is getting. Take your time in reading the reviews of the app, mostly you can get a good idea if the app can be trusted or not from them. Last but not the least, if an app has poor rating and asks for permissions that have no relation to the working of the app – do not download it rather go for some other option.
As smartphones have become more and more common, majority of the public places like restaurants, malls, co-working spaces, cinemas offer public WiFi to visitors. This WiFi access is free and everyone can simply use it once the password is shared with them. In some case, the public WiFi does not even have a password to make it easier for users to connect the WiFi. Whilst public WiFi is a very convenient and a free option, it has its downside. Your device becomes vulnerable to attacks that are sent through these networks. Sometimes people are even tricked into connecting to a network that poses as a public WiFi but in reality, is controlled by hacker.
An experiment run at the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2016 showed that 70% of the people connect to public, unsecured networks. Another thing to note is that anyone with even remote knowledge of WiFi and networks can access your device.
How to fight: The answer to this threat is pretty simple. Do not connect to public WiFi if you want your device and personal information to remain secure. Public WiFi of your workplace can be trusted as that is monitored by system admins but a WiFi in a mall, library or a café is insecure and should not be used.
As smartphones have taken the front seat in every aspect of life, majority of the people search for anything online on their devices. They visit different websites on their phone, depending on the search results. While a vast number of websites are secure – there are sites that will start downloading malware on your device once you visit them. If your phone has a security app or antivirus software installed, it will not be downloaded but if you have none of that – your phone will malware that enables hackers to get full access to your device.
Every device that has such malware are added to network of other affected devices, which is called a botnet. Hackers use botnet to send spam emails and click fraud campaigns that will phish your information and spread the malware to other devices.
How to fight: To fight with malware threat, it is important that your smartphone has a great mobile security application or an antivirus software installed. secondly, when searching online on your device – do not click on websites that seem fishy. Most of the websites that have SSL certifications to garner the trust of website visitors. Look for a small green lock on the left side of the website address. If the lock is present, the website is secured and safe to use.
Every picture has two side but that does not mean the picture is bad or not worth. There is no doubt that smartphones have made our lives easier, simpler and more flexible. We have more time on our hands now as the smartphones just like loyal assistants run most of the errands for us. although threats to mobile security are present, they can be simply fought back as mentioned in the article. If you have any suggestions, let us know what you want us to cover in the future.