With mobile users accounting for the majority of website visits in the past couple of years, we can’t talk about cybersecurity threats without addressing those targeting smartphones and tablets.
There are more than 230,000 new malware programs detected each day and a great deal of those target mobile devices specifically. This is why more and more people are starting to use VPN to keep their devices safe.
Here is a look at the biggest mobile cybersecurity threats still accurate in 2019:
When most mobile users want to install an app, they do the following:
- They find the app on the Play Store,
- Tap “Install” without reading detailed information and comments, and
- Give the app all the permissions it asks for.
And the problem lies exactly in this – giving apps all the permissions they ask for. Why would a new camera app request access to the user’s contacts? Most of the free apps on the popular app stores are used by advertisers to mine user data so they can target ads more accurately.
Some of these apps may easily be used by cybercriminals. All the data the app gathers on a user’s phone will end up on a remote server, and someone will use it however they please.
Fortunately, this problem is easy to avoid. Before giving the newly installed app any permissions, users have to be aware of the functionality of the app. It’s important to give apps only the permissions that allow them to work properly, and avoid giving all the permissions they ask for.
Cybersecurity and Wi-Fi became best friends with the breaking of WPA2 in 2017. After discovering a major weakness in the Wi-Fi security protocol, experts showed the general public how their WiFi networks could be turned against them. And this is only one weakness discovered by the good guys. Imagine the threats hidden in the public and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
To counter this problem, users should go with the best VPN. VPNs are designed to encrypt end-to-end traffic and render users completely anonymous. With this type of data protection, the best VPN is the only viable user-friendly solution able to protect them even on the public hotspots.
Cybercriminals are getting very smart. Social engineering is one of the most sophisticated tricks of the trade they use to get what they want. This practice was really well established on desktop platforms, but it’s also starting to appear in the mobile landscape.
The security report from 2018 tells us that more than 90% of cyber crimes start with users clicking on a phishing link embedded in the email. In the IBM report, we can see another staggering fact – people are three times more likely to click on a phishing link on their mobile device than on a desktop computer.
With the BYOD (bring your own device) practice becoming more common in the business world, this problem becomes even more severe. To answer this threat, companies have to work closely with their L&D departments and provide employees with education and training accordingly.
Patching and updating are the two most important methods used to combat cybercrime. Manufacturers of devices and software firms discover hundreds of new bugs and open backdoors in their products every day.
They work tirelessly to address these issues, and this is why we can sometimes see two versions of the same mobile app released in one day. Users who fail to keep their devices updated are exposed to a greater amount of risk.
Both iOS and Android platforms have made improvements in terms of notifying the user about the new available system updates. But when it comes to standalone apps, users have to become more proactive. The best way to combat this is to enable automatic updates when the phone is connected to a charger.
One of the downsides of using mobile devices is that they can easily get lost or stolen. People with ill intent can then gain access to private data on the phones, including contact info, conversation history, images, credit card info, and more.
This threat can be minimized by enabling the additional security lock features on a mobile device – fingerprint, PIN, patterns, and so on.
These mobile cybersecurity threats are still viable in 2019. The solutions are not that hard to pursue, as they range from being more responsible for a mobile device to using the best VPN and being careful about clicking the links embedded in emails.