We are all aware that cyber threats such as viruses, malware, and phishing poses danger to our desktop computers. However, mobile devices have become a real target for hackers. A study by Network World shows that the average American touches their phone 2,617 times a day. We use them for communication purposes, to review sensitive data, to retrieve business emails and to store business information. Hence, a cyber-attack on these mobile devices can have serious consequences in all aspects of life.
Mobile devices are vulnerable because users are simply unaware of the potential dangers. It’s important to be informed of current cyber threats, and being proactive is the first step to mobile malware protection.
Installing games, banking, or shopping apps seems like a routine thing we all do. And we do it without any hesitation whatsoever. Yet, there are mobile apps infected with malware out there, just waiting for you to download them. They resemble legitimate apps with redesigned icons to fool you. And once it’s on your device, the downloaded malware can reconfigure your settings, install mobile ransomware, or send emails to your contacts. To avoid downloading infected apps, be sure to steer clear of third-party app markets. These are found outside of official app marketplaces like Google Play or the Apple App Store.
This malware is less destructive than the infected apps above, but far more common. The annoying app will track user’s locations or monitor web browsing habits. It can also access the internet without the user’s knowledge – which can potentially raise mobile bills. “Madware” is a type of greyware, and this one’s a real nuisance. It can display ads, replace dial tones with voice ads, and expose personal information. Norton Antivirus found that 55% of Android apps contain this greyware or madware.
The act of tricking victims in attempt to gain information via email has evolved once again. Phishing crossed onto a new platform by way of text message – SMS phishing, or “smishing.” Here’s an example: hackers can pose as a bank and use geographic locations to send nearby phone users requests for updates on bank login and password credentials. These attempts can also pose malware threats to users who clicked on the texted, infected links. Pay close attention to suspicious texts and remember the lessons we have previously learned from email phishing scams.
Have you ever been at a public place say, a coffee house, and jumped on an open Wi-Fi network? Well, after reading this you might think twice next time. Hackers can manipulate these networks to intercept email messages, passwords, login credentials or other personal information. Some fake networks have generic names, like “airport” or “free Wi-Fi,” so beware.
Whether you’re shopping for Christmas presents, reviewing your text message queue, or using your laptop at the local java house, your mobile device is a target for hackers. Remember, we carry tons of personal information on them about ourselves and others, so we must be vigilant on its protection.