Cybersecurity researchers recently reported an alarming mobile statistic. During the opening months of 2022, mobile malware attacks surged 500%. This is staggering, both in scale and because many people aren’t yet protecting their smartphones.
For years, mobile phones have increased in power. They have come so far as to have supplanted the computer for many users – content with a much smaller screen. Yet people tend to secure their computers, while completely neglecting their smartphones.
This is a behaviour that needs to change. Over 60% of digital fraud now occurs over mobile devices. That makes them highly risky if proper safeguards aren’t followed.
Many of these are the same types of protections you have on your computer. It’s time to start thinking about your smartphone as a mini-computer, and keeping it just as secure.
Tips to Improve Your Smartphone Security
Install Mobile Anti-malware
Yes, your mobile phone does in fact needs antivirus/anti-malware too! Malware can and does infect smartphones and tablets. You need to ensure you have a reliable mobile anti-malware app installed.
And beware of those freebies. Free offers or apps are great when you’re talking about food, but not security apps. Malware is often hidden inside free apps, which act as a Trojan horse to invade your system with whatever malware they’re pushing. Pretty ironic considering how they market themselves as a way to make your device more secure!
Don’t Side-load or Download Apps from Unknown Sources
Only download mobile apps from trusted sources. While Apple’s App Store typically does a decent job of keeping the riff-raff off, Google Play is typically not as good at quality assurance. Do not download outside a main app store unless you absolutely know and understand what you’re doing! Trusted app stores include places like:
You also should research any app’s developer online as due diligence. Make sure they have a good reputation, and aren’t known for injecting any malware or adware into their apps. Once you download a dangerous app to your phone, it can infect it with malware, which can remain behind even if you delete the app later!
Don’t Assume Emails Are Safe
Many people prefer checking emails on their phone over their PC because it’s so handy. The issue is that they’ve been lulled into a false sense of security about the safety of emails when viewed on a mobile device.
You can’t assume an email is safe just because you’re not on your computer. Be just as wary about unexpected emails and scam emails masquerading as legitimate ones.
It’s difficult to hover over a link without clicking when on a smartphone. If you see something questionable and want to check the link, open the email on your PC where you can do that safely.
Beware of New SMS Phishing (aka “Smishing”) Trend
In March 2022, text spam outpaced robocalls. Unwanted text messages rose by 30%, ten percent higher than robocall growth. Many of these spam texts are smishing attempts.
Smishing is the text version of phishing. These texts usually contain malicious links. A hacker can potentially breach your device if you click them. The message may also ask you to text back personal information.
Be on the lookout for any text messages that don’t quite make sense. For example, getting a shipping notification when you haven’t ordered anything sure sees strange, so don’t click on any tracking link provided! Also, beware of texts from unknown sources.
Text message phishing is a growing threat, and it’s also one that most people aren’t aware of yet, so they often get caught in its trap.
Remove Old Apps You No Longer User
Approximately 2.6 million apps haven’t had an update in a year or more. Apps are often abandoned by the developer, and their security – or lack there of – can create security vulnerabilities on your device. Hackers seek out these types of vulnerabilities to exploit. If they aren’t addressed, then they remain a danger.
Go through your device and remove old applications that you are no longer using. There is no reason to keep them around, potentially leaving your device at risk. If a hacker gains access to the app and publishes an update laced with malware, you’ll automatically fall victim to it.
Additionally, look at the date the app was last updated. If it’s over a year, then you may want to consider replacing that app with something more current. App updates often include security-related items as well. It’s not good when a year or more goes by without the developer making any type of update to the app.
Keep Your Devices Updated
Speaking of updates, you also need to keep your devices’ operating system updated. Are you using the current version of Android or iOS? Not installing updates can mean your phone has vulnerabilities, as the OS developers often end the service and maintenance life of older OS versions, leading to unpatched vulnerabilities accruing over time. These vulnerabilities allow hackers to breach your data with ease.
Automate OS updates whenever possible. If you have a company with several devices, then it’s a good idea to include your phones on a managed IT services plan.
Use a VPN When on Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is straight up dangerous. Most people aren’t aware at all, or not aware of the extent of the threat, and many more connect to it out of necessity anyhow. They may worry about going over their data plan allotment for example, or their mobile carrier reception may be slow. Both cases are reasons people opt to connect to unsecured public hot spots.
You can connect to public Wi-fi with less risk if you use a VPN application. VPNs stand between your device and the internet, routing your data through a secure server. This keeps it away from prying eyes that may be lurking on that convenient public Wi-Fi.
Mobile Security Solutions That Prevent a Data Breach
Don’t wait until your phone is already infected with malware to secure it properly. We can help you with automated solutions that protect your device, accounts, and data. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!