Mobile phones have become a part of everyday life, and their functionality continues to develop at a rapid pace. You can switch from monitoring work emails to playing the latest games, to live streaming sports events simultaneously.
Improved high-speed internet and enhanced connectivity indicate that we’re also connected more than ever before and continuously online, whether actively using our phones or not. Many apps are running silently in the background without your knowledge, not with malicious intent, but ensuring the best performance.
Our private and personal data stored on mobile devices and the cloud is now more vulnerable than ever to cybersecurity threats, there are solutions available for you as a consumer, and as a business. Especially for businesses, all of these concerns should be addressed.
Common Mobile Security Threats
These are the most common types of attacks:
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are found nearly everywhere, from coffee shops to clothing stores, and they’re a gift for those who worry about burning through their cellular data.
However, they’re a point of concern as they’re unsecured and easy to hack. Attackers can easily access your personal information if you’re connected, putting your social media profiles, bank details and more are at risk.
Some hackers even set up fake hotspots to lure in potential victims who aren’t aware of possible harm.
Intentional Leaked Data
Mobile apps are often a cause of data leaking. But what does it mean?
When you install an app on your phone, such as a flashlight app, it will ask for specific permissions to function. But be careful, especially with free apps.
Why should a flashlight application need access to your address book and location? Be extra careful when granting permissions that give apps access to your data. It can be sent to a remote server to be mined and then sold for profit.
According to a report by security firm FireEye, over 91 percent of cybercrime begins with an email. You are three times more likely to open a malicious email on mobile than desktop, possibly due to the way the sender’s information is displayed on smaller screens.
The lines between work and personal phones continue to blur, and many of us have multiple email accounts and inboxes on our device. Due to the information overload, it’s not surprising that by impersonating co-workers or interested clients, cybercriminals can entice unsuspecting users to click on malicious links or download malware.
Out Of Date Software
If your device software is out of date, you may be missing a critical security fix against cyber-attacks.
Android devices are more at risk to this issue as each manufacturer has a different patching system in place – if they have one at all. And the problems will only increase as the usage of mobile phones increases, and more models hit the market.
If you’re an iPhone user, then you’re in luck as your device is more secure thanks to Apple’s secure operating system.
Preventing Cyber Threats With A VPN
Now you’re familiar with some of the most common mobile cybersecurity threats, here’s how best to protect yourself, with a VPN – Virtual Private Network.
A VPN hides your identity and secures your data to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your personal information.
This powerful tool does this by concealing your IP address via a proxy, and keeping you and your data protected.
Businesses will use VPNs to control access to their networks and data centers, by granting access to specific VPN accounts only, enhancing their security and reducing risk.
Some companies go the extra mile and employ the Zero-Trust VPN Alternative which restricts access to a ‘Need to know basis’, which limits users access to specific applications and hides the rest of the network from view.
But also for the typical mobile user, using a VPN will significantly increase your defense against malicious attacks.
More Tips To Protect Yourself
Here are some extra tips for securing your mobile phone.
Don’t Jailbreak Your Phone
Jailbreaking or ‘Rooting’ your phone may sound appealing as it allows you to download paid apps for free. But this leaves you wide open to attacks and removes any protection from Apple and Google.
Review Your App Permissions
By navigating to your permission settings, you can check which permissions you previously gave to apps. Double check you’re happy with your app permissions and remove anything you’re not sure about.
And only download apps from the official app store.
Ask Your IT Admin or Security Officer
This may seem like a no brainer, but your business may employ a Computer Administrator or a Security officer. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact them for help or guidance.
If you receive a possible phishing email, it’s critical you inform them as soon as possible to limit any risk to the business.