It’s 2018 and online security is more important than ever. Now that more people favor their mobile devices to computers or tablets, more threats are being directed towards all things mobile. Here are the 7 most common mobile security threats you may run into.
The 7 Most Common Mobile Security Threats
Let’s be real for a second. As a species, we’ve become heavily reliant on the internet for many of the every-day tasks that we do. The problem is, the more we come up with new ways to benefit from the internet (i.e. tech), the more we’ll have to deal with new tech-based and Internet-based attacks. Despite all that, most attacks are caused by a handful of threats. Here are the 7 most common mobile security threats of 2018:
1. Public WiFi
Who doesn’t love public WiFi? It’s free, it’s readily available, and it helps you finish up whatever it is you need to do on the go. The problem is that public WiFi is exceptionally dangerous and is commonly used by attackers to trick unexpecting WiFi users. Most (almost all, actually) public WiFi networks are barely secured. This allows attackers and hackers easier access to the network and the users on it.
2. Network Spoofing
Network spoofing is another dangerous facet of public WiFi. Attackers set up fake public WiFi access points and wait for someone to try and connect to it. Once an unsuspecting victim connects, the attacker can easily gain access to all sensitive information on the target’s phone.
These spoofed networks usually have very common names and can even ask the victims to create an account to log into. This puts the target at an even higher risk for future attacks, as most people reuse their passwords for multiple accounts.
Pro-tip: Always use a single-time unique password when creating an account for any public WiFi.
3. Social Engineering
Although our society is progressively moving towards a more technological approach to life, people still fall prey to other people’s cons.
Phishing, using social engineering to trick someone into installing malware, is still to this day one of the most common threats to the average internet user. Sadly, the more popular mobiles become for all of our daily e-errands, the higher the chances of people falling for a phishing scam on them.
4. Data Leakage
Mobile apps might help simplify a lot of what we do online, but that doesn’t mean they’re always safe. I’m not talking about a mobile app downloaded from an unknown source that happens to install malware on your device. Most data leakage happens because users give too many permissions to the apps.
The average internet user has become a little too comfortable with handing out permissions to the apps that he/she installs. In fact, a lot of people don’t even read what kind of permission they’re giving! You can help protect yourself from data leaking apps by being a little more vigilant when accepting an app’s permission request.
Only give apps permission to access data that they absolutely need (like GPS for Map-based apps). Similarly, try to stay away from apps that ask for too many permissions (like…a Map-based app that wants permission to access your microphone).
5. Devices that Aren’t Updated
It’s 2018 and mankind is at the early stages of a 4th industrial revolution. We expect technology to advance at mind-boggling speeds, yet most internet users don’t think the same about malware and computer viruses.
Just as our technology is evolving, so is the tech used by attackers and hackers. This is why your mobile will regularly ask you to update the OS so that your phone can always ward off these threats. iOS users have it a little better than their Android counterparts here since Apple forces everyone to upgrade to the latest OS model. However, Android devices take the biggest chunk of the mobile market. Make sure that your device, whether Android, iOS, or any other kind of OS, is constantly up-to-date with both the major OS updates and the monthly security patch-ups.
6. IoT Devices
Mobile devices aren’t limited to your smartphones anymore. In fact, most users utilize a range of mobile devices throughout their day. Wearable tech, smart appliances, and even smart city technologies have become commonplace. With that commonality comes an increase in possible points of attack.
These devices are all connected to the internet via a network, and most of them even have their own IPs. This makes it a lot easier for an attacker to gain access to the data on that network through these devices. Ransomware seems to be the most common type of malware used on IoT devices. They effectively lock out the target in exchange for a ransom.
7. Physical Breaches
The world might be progressing at an alarming rate, but that doesn’t mean that the old methods of attacks stopped existing. In fact, one of the most common mobile security threats to this day is still losing or misplacing your phone.
An attacker can easily transfer malware onto an unattended phone. Attackers can also access gain direct access to all of your data without even needing your passwords. Most of us save our usernames and passwords on our apps so we can access them faster. Any attacker who suddenly gained physical access to your phone can easily wipe, alter, and mess with your entire online presence.
How to Stay Protected at All Times
Short for Virtual Private Networks, VPNs add a layer of security, privacy, and anonymity to your online connection. A VPN will encrypt all of your data and re-route your traffic through a secure tunnel on one of their servers. This will make it incredibly difficult for anyone to see what you’re doing online or access any of your data. VPNs are one of the foremost preventative cybersecurity tools available today.
Make sure that you don’t use a free VPN, though, as you’d be doing yourself more harm than anything. I suggest using a credible and trustworthy VPN, like ExpressVPN, whenever you are connected to the internet.
Be a Proactive User
It’s not enough to install anti-malware or anti-virus software on your device. It’s not enough to install a VPN on there either. You need to become a proactive internet user and take things into your own hands when it comes to staying up-to-date with what’s happening in the realms of cybersecurity.
Credible software companies all have blogs where they release news and information about their products, including any upcoming security patches. Every OS update gets reviewed to the most minute detail. You can find the privacy policies of all apps, products, and services with a click of a button. It is no longer acceptable for smart device users not keep up with what’s really going on with your devices.
Conclusion – 7 Most Common Mobile Security Threats
There you have it, the 7 most common mobile security threats of 2018. Don’t be very disheartened by this article, though. If you take the proper precautions and use the internet wisely, the chances of you falling victim to an unwanted attack significantly decrease.